In an effort to bring together organizations that offer assistance to veterans, the base’s Veteran Center hosted a resource fair at the 375th Medical Group clinic auditorium Jan. 27.
“When I retired in 2006, I had no direction on who I would go to for schooling, employment or mental health,” said Chris Figura, veteran center readjustment counselor and event organizer. “I thought it would be a good idea to bring organizations in for vets to get help.”
The three-hour event featured the Wounded Warrior Project as its headline organization, which is a military and veterans charity service that supports members and their families. The organization promoted Project Odyssey, a multi-day adventure-based event that helps vets deal with combat stress and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Project Odyssey takes the vets out of their comfort zone by getting them out of their everyday lives and into an environment where they can better support each other,” said Figura.
Dominic Masters, a former Marine corporal, has been on two trips with Project Odyssey: one by himself and one with his wife.
“Wounded Warrior Project has helped me out a lot,” said Masters. “It was great to get out and enjoy the camaraderie and get the energy going. For anyone who was in a place like I was, it was life changing.”
When I retired in 2006, I had no direction on who I would go to for schooling, employment or mental health. I thought it would be a good idea to bring organizations in for the vets to get help.
Chris Figura, Veteran Center readjustment counselor and event organizer
Masters has seen Figura for counseling for about three years and attended the event to provide support and see what other organizations had to offer.
“The fair went really well,” said Masters. “There was a lot of great information that is useful to vets.”
In addition to the WWP organization, on hand were the St. Clair County and Madison County Veterans Assistance Commissions, the 375th AMW Chapel, a company called CEdge who was there to hire veterans, Songs 4 Soldiers, and representatives who spoke to the Air Force’s Wounded Warrior Program.
The Vet Center, located on the 5th floor of the 375th Medical Group clinic, also offers assistance setting up interviews for vets with schools for those seeking education. For employment opportunities, the center has an outreach specialist who meets with potential employers to set up jobs for veterans.
The base has Veteran Affairs counselors available Monday through Friday, by appointment, to discuss benefit options. A Department of VA representative, Don Gosha, is also available Mondays and Thursdays, by appointment, to assist active duty, mobilized Reserve and National Guard members with VA benefits, resources and the VA disability claim processes.
For more information regarding resources for veterans visit www.vetcenter.va.gov or contact Chris Figura at (314) 652-4100 ext. 6856.