Collaboration, Coordination and Connectivity.
We had plans to run another guest blog this week, but a few things happened recently that I wanted to share with you in order to highlight the importance of a community coming together to create a network to support Veterans.
On November 25th, 2016 a news story was posted on Nashville Fox 17’s page titled “Friends: Soldier who took his life outside VA is tragic example of vets desperate for help”. The story shared information about a Veteran who was found dead outside of the Murfreesboro’s VA where he'd been recently discharged from a drug treatment program. The anchor explained “Friends say a soldier who took his life before Thanksgiving is a tragic example of veterans desperate for help.”
One of the Veterans on the Veterans on the Alabama Veteran Facebook page shared the story with the group, and it took off like wildfire. A few Veterans commented, but even more people shared the story with their Friends explaining that we need to do better.
"The Alabama Veteran network worked. We were presented with a Veteran in need with no idea where to turn and we connect him with benefits he had no idea existed."
A few days before this I received an email from a Vet Center representative explaining that a Veteran in need had contacted them requesting help. On Friday, November 18, the Veteran, his spouse, and 5 children lost their home when their apartment, along with several others, caught fire. It was a total loss. They were not home, and in the immediate aftermath of the fire the Veteran had received assistance from the Red Cross.
However, after the Red Cross assistance ran out, they didn’t know where to go to get assistance, what kind of support the Veteran might have access to or who to talk to. Luckily, the Vet Center connected them to Alabama Veteran. Quickly, I was able to share the Veteran’s situation and needs with multiple individuals within the community, get people to reach out with assistance and get them hooked up with Priority Veteran.
The Alabama Veteran network worked. We were presented with a Veteran in need with no idea where to turn and we connect him with benefits he had no idea existed.
They have temporary housing thanks to family. But, they are looking for a place to rent in the Springville area for less than 1000.00 a month. They are in need of basic goods: soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, feminine products, razors, socks, underwear and even possible medicine. If you would like to provide clothing: Daughter, age 3 clothes 4T shoe toddler 9-10 - Daughter, age 8 shirts medium 10/12 pants 10/12 medium shoes size 3 - Adult Female, medium shirt 6/7 pants 7 - 7.5 shoes - Adult Male, large shirt 34/34 pants 11.5 – 12. If you are interested in helping I can connect you directly to the individual helping them.
The purpose of this post is not to bash the VA or the Red Cross, instead it is to highlight the need of something like Alabama Veteran. The VA is a medical provider that has rules and protocols, and it is not their mission to provide for the holistic needs of Veterans. The Red Cross is a service in place to provide immediate help for those displaced by fire. If you, or a community, wants to truly help Veterans they have to come together on a community level and do it. They must work together, agree upon a mission and vision and create a local level support system.
With Alabama Veteran we are creating that support system. A single access point for Veterans to access and gather guidance and assistance. An organization that is in place to address the entire range of possible needs a Veteran have, and connect them with the overall Veteran community.
If you are interested in getting more involved with Alabama Veteran, or if you would like to help the family in need please reach out directly to me.
Thank you all for you time and your continued support.