The Roundup -

RSVP Establishes Action Group

 

October 24, 2018 | View PDF



A new action group has recently been assembled to help build stronger veteran services across this side of the state. The Northeast Montana Regional Veterans Services Action Group is striving to determine how many veterans are in this region so that current and needed services may be more effectively distinguished. Veterans can be challenging to connect with at times. They don’t always want to admit they are veterans and often don’t identify themselves for a variety of reasons. Some might feel that being a veteran is a liability, while others may convince themselves they didn’t serve long enough to receive benefits or are less significant because they didn’t serve in combat. This action group stresses the true importance of breaking down these, and any other, stigmas by working together to support all Montanans who have so nobly served this country.

There are several organizations that actively make up the committee and many of them support additional organizations as well. The Northeast MT RSVP volunteer program is leading the charge for this action group. With an established partnership with the Richland County Communities in Action, as well as the tools that link volunteers to various service gaps, RSVP is pushing to enhance both the quality and quantity of services in Montana’s northeast frontier. This simply cannot be done without the help, input, and support of the many active members: Rhone’s Farm & Retreat LLC, Job Service of Wolf Point & Sidney, Operation: Vision, Action for Eastern MT (Senior Companion Program), VFW Auxiliary Sidney, Richland County Health Dept., and numerous individual veterans. The volunteer program also receives valuable assistance from a variety of service providers across eastern and central Montana.

The Veterans Services Action Group held its first meeting in July of 2018 and continues to meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 1pm. Several pressing issues have since been discussed, including the need for veteran-specific mental health and wellness services, PTSD counseling, and more localized access to VA services. For a lot of veterans in northeast Montana, services can be up to eight hours away. Other key issues call for increased assistance with maneuvering through the VA system paperwork, bringing in a local veterans’ advocate, and establishing more supportive housing. While all of these issues are important to address, this committee would also like to collaborate with local organizations that may already be working toward similar objectives. The group has identified their top three action items, which they will be working towards throughout this next year. These action items include“Operation Headcount,” Peer-to-Peer Support Services, and Veterans Court.

Additionally, this group has formed a sub-committee that will plan and execute a Day of Service project in select service area communities. “Day of Service” has taken on the role of replacing the project formerly known as “Veterans Standdown.” Similar to community services fairs, they will be totally open to the public; but these particular events would have a special emphasis on connecting with veterans. More details about the Day of Service projects and their locations will be available as planning moves forward. For more information on this or the Veterans Services action group, please contact Jessica Gilbert at the Richland County Health Department by calling 406-433-2207.

 

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