Another Veterans Day has come and gone, and as usual, the memories came back.
The uncle I grew up hearing about but never met because he was killed during World War II.
My other uncles, who served and made it home, one of whom was never the same afterward.
The attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on my mother’s birthday. She took this as a sign and shortly after joined the newly formed Women’s Army Corps, better known as WACS. The WACS, she informed me, worked either as cooks, administration aids or in the medical field. She was a staff sergeant (read cook). She met and married my dad on base at Daytona Beach, Florida. He was a medical student when he joined up. He was a Canadian but had joined our air force.
More recently, my family suffered the loss of my first grandson in Afghanistan. The pain of that loss never goes away. He was hailed as a hero, but I am a simple woman. I only wanted to dance at his wedding and rock his babies.
Today I see so many sad, lonely-looking, homeless veterans lining our streets; I can’t help but wonder what his fate might have been if he had made it home.
I know there is help for them − but I don’t know if they know how to access it.
Help for Veterans
About this time last year, I visited the Lacey Veterans Services Hub and was thrilled to learn what they have to offer, all under one roof. Services include:
Veterans and their families experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of homelessness can access rapid rehousing and homeless prevention services, including case management, rent assistance, and utility deposits.
Veterans and their families can verify VA education entitlements, connect to colleges and universities, and explore additional education opportunities.
Veterans and their families can access specialized resume development and interview skill assistance, job readiness assessments, and referrals to meaningful employment opportunities.
Veterans and their families can obtain emergency food and hygiene items, and connect with local programs that support nutritional health and stability.
Veterans and their families can receive mental health counseling, establish VA healthcare eligibility, and access the Washington State Health Plan Finder if ineligible for VA healthcare.
And the best part is it is all under one roof, staffed primarily by volunteer veterans. You can visit their website at www.LaceyVeteransHub.org for more information.
Another great resource for those without their own transportation who might want a little help getting to the Lacey Veterans Services Hub is the Bus Buddy Program.
Bus Buddy services:
A Bus Buddy is a travel companion who volunteers with those who need to get from one place to another but isn’t sure how to go about it.
They can teach you how to:
How much does it cost?
The Bus Buddy Program is free! Even the transit fare is free, inside Thurston County. Visit Intercity Transit’s Bus Buddy page for more information,call 360-688-8832 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lacey Veterans Services Hub website tells more. It’s located just behind the South Puget Sound Community College’s Lacey Campus, across the street from the Lacey Transit Center at 4232 Sixth Ave. SE.
Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia. Contact her at kathleen@theJOLTnews.com or post your comment below.
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