Valdosta Daily Times

July 18, 2013

Giving our vets a fighting chance

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Veterans are coming home from their nation’s wars. They are civilians again. They need education opportunities. They need jobs.

In today’s editions, readers will find a story about an education benefits and job fair held Wednesday for veterans. It was the latest such event sponsored by Valdosta Veterans First and Wiregrass Student Veteran’s Association.

These programs are designed to get out the word on what’s available to veterans returning to civilian life in South Georgia.

“There are a lot of programs in our community designed specifically to help veterans transition into civilian life and to help them as well as their families reintegrate into the community,” Tim Oliver of Valdosta Veterans First has told The Times.

Valdosta Veterans First is part of the Community Blueprint project. Valdosta is one of three cities across the nation selected as a pilot city for the program.

The idea behind Community Blueprint is finding ways to “help local leaders assess and improve their community’s support for veterans, warriors and their families,” according to a mission statement. Representatives from 55 non-profit organizations, military family service organizations, faith-based groups and senior Veterans Administration, Department of Defense and Department of Labor officials identified eight mission areas. These areas are behavioral health, education, employment, family strength, financial-legal services, homelessness, reintegration, and volunteerism.

While the program is aimed at veterans, it is fueled by the dedication of area individuals, businesses, and organizations that want to help veterans find a new place in a new life.

More help is needed. More businesses could benefit from the expertise and discipline acquired by our young men and women who have served in the military. Imagine that discipline, dedication, work ethic and determination to accomplish a mission working for the success of your business.

As they were in the military, American veterans are a force to be reckoned with. All they need is a chance.

More information on how to help, contact Valdosta Veterans First, via Tim Oliver, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.), (229) 561-5251.