As a retired Air Force officer, I have no doubt that our veterans of the armed services of the United States deserve our respect and gratitude.  The sacrifices that our brothers and sisters endure serve to enhance the lives of every American citizen both domestic and abroad. 


Through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, the county Veterans Service Offices and Commissioners, and an immense network of service organizations and non-profit entities, veterans in Ohio can get assistance for just about anything, from education to financial hardships, to medical care, transportation, and professional licensing/certifications.  However, even with all of these great programs and services, there is a missing link in this chain.  Veterans just don’t know where to connect with the many people who want to help them. 


With the influence of Wright-Patterson Air Force base, the Miami Valley was recently selected by the US Department of Veterans Affairs as one of 50 communities around the country to create a MyVeteran Community.  The primary mission of a MyVeteran Community is to improve support to veterans, service members and their families by connecting regional veterans’ service providers, resources, advocates and other stakeholders.  Last year, the Greater Miami Valley MyVeteran Community came together under the leadership of retired Air Force Colonel Cassie Barlow and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel John McCance.  The 16 county region will be the first of its kind in Ohio and has already gained the support and influence of local military leaders, elected officials, and community advocates.


During discussions on the MyVeteran Community, it became clear that one of the best ways to connect these folks would be to simply get everyone into the same room. By bringing together veterans and veterans’ service providers, it would allow everyone to interface, and hopefully directly improve outcomes for our veterans and their families.  On Tuesday, May 24th of this year, I will help host the first annual MyVeteran Community forum called Veterans Moving Forward. 


The event will run from 3:00pm to 6:00pm at the Wright State University Student Union.  A large number of diverse veterans’ service providers is expected to attend, and I encouraging everyone—whether you are a veteran yourself or a friend or family member to a veteran—to attend and learn about what kind of organizations are willing and able to help out our local veterans.  For more details, refer to veteransmovingforward.org, or contact Col. Cassie Barlow at 937-429-7804 or cassie.barlow@wright.edu.


The Miami Valley is home to a huge population of veterans and military families, and I hope that you will join us in making the Miami Valley the absolute best community in the nation for veterans and their families.

 
 
 
  
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