Veterans services in western Colorado
VETERANS CRISIS LINE
Since it was launched in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 1.25 million calls and made more than 39,000 life-saving rescues. In 2011, a text-messaging service was paired with the crisis line to allow one more avenue for veterans to receive confidential, around-the-clock support during a crisis. Since then staff have responded to more than 24,000 texts.
“We are proud of those numbers,” said Sonja Encke, suicide prevention coordinator for the Grand Junction Veterans Health Care System. “Suicide Prevention, especially here in the West, is really about one-to-one contact with veterans preferably before they are in a crisis. But when that’s not possible, the crisis line is there for them.”
In addition, the line isn’t restricted to veterans. Anyone — family members, friends, clergy, anyone who is concerned about a veteran’s emotional state — can call the crisis line to get advice.
Responders work with callers to get the veteran through the crisis, even if the crisis does not involved suicidal thoughts or actions.
To request a presentation by Encke or Crisis Line promotional material, call 970-263-2800 and ask to be transferred to Mental Health Services.
For more information: Call 1-800-273-8255 (press 1); visit www.VeteransCrisiline.net; or text 838255.
Individuals, businesses, veterans-service organizations, nonprofits, and state and local governments have all stepped forward to enhance veterans lives and show appreciation.
Veterans must “go out and learn about their communities, learn about their benefits, and then take action to access what the community has to offer,” said Claudia Jackson, Grand Junction Salvation Army’s public relations director.
“For instance, a lot of veterans don’t know what we can do for them. The Salvation Army is here for everyone, every day. We encourage veterans to come to us because we often have the things they need ‘right now:’ food, clothing, winter coats, dog food, and cat food.”
Beyond their own programs, the Salvation Army has extensive contacts and partnerships throughout the communities it serves: Colorado National Guard Family Assistance Program, Rocky Mountain Human Services, Red Cross and more.
“We’re here to help,” Jackson said. “We don’t ask questions or make judgments.”
Project Sanctuary takes military families from battle ready to family ready. Project Sanctuary started in September 2007 by Heather Ehle to create an organization to help military families as a whole. The organization solicited input directly from military families and then structured Project Sanctuary’s programs to meet those needs.
Pulling from her background as a Registered Nurse, Ehle said her goal was to establish an evidence-based program that encompasses spiritual, physical and emotional healing.
Project Sanctuary provides six-day therapeutic retreats, enabling military families to reconnect and reintegrate into their communities through education, innovative services, support and fun.
With a waitlist of more than 1,500 military families, community help and volunteers are always welcome.
HOMES FOR ALL VETERANS
Homes for All Veterans is a service provided by Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS). Through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, RMHS provides outreach, case management and access to community resources. Their aim is to get veterans in housing and to avoid homelessness in Colorado and southern Wyoming. Homes for All Veterans helps veterans find temporary shelter and permanent housing. It also helps veterans with rent, utilities, food, heath care and more.
To learn more visit http://www.rmhumanservices.org/program/homes-all-veterans, call 855-838-7428, or email HAVreferrals@rmhumanservices.org. Other Rocky Mountain Human Services programs include ReHire Colorado and Operation TBI Freedom (970-812-2993).
THE WARRIOR RESOURCE CENTER
The Warrior Resource Center in Montrose, Colo., is a nonprofit focused on aiding veterans in their transition into civilian life. It’s funded by donations and it’s run by volunteers. Also known as “Welcome Home Montrose,” the group focuses on creating a supportive community network for veterans with focus on developing purpose, fun and comfort.
For more information, visit http://welcomehomemontrose.org or call 970-765-2210.
DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS (DAV)
DAV is a veterans advocacy and assistance group available nationwide. It works to ensure that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them while transitioning back to civilian life.
The DAV Transition Service Office in Colorado is located at Fort Carson. For more information, call 719-524-2346 or visit http://www.dav.org
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Marti Barbour was selected almost 20 years ago as the first recipient of a Habitat For Humanity house in the Roaring Fork Valley. She paid off her mortgage in June and recalled the dire times her family faced and the help that Habitat provided.