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Veterans support group serves those who have served

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The Denton County Veterans Coalition assisted over 50 veterans in need at their first Homeless Veteran Stand Down on Oct. 22 in Denton.
The Denton County Veterans Coalition assisted over 50 veterans in need at their first Homeless Veteran Stand Down on Oct. 22 in Denton.

Veterans Day commemorates the official end of World War I with Germany, which occurred at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. It coincides with similar celebrations in other parts of the world, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day.

In the U.S., Veterans Day is an official federal holiday and honors those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. It was originally named Armistice Day prior to being re-named in 1954.

Every day is Veterans Day for the men and women at the Denton County Veterans Coalition (DCVC) which was formed to help veterans and their families by improving the quality of their lives. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was established on October 18, 2012.

DCVC consists of voluntary partnerships that bring together key players in the community of veteran services, organizations, non-profits and governmental entities committed to providing services. It raises awareness of– and assistance with– specific issues with which local veterans and their families need assistance.

It also utilizes its own veterans who are experienced and talented problem-solvers. They help connect veterans and their families with solutions and resources that are available in Denton County and beyond.

“We work with many other groups, including the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Military Veteran Peer Network,” said retired Col. Chris Martin of Argyle, the current president of DCVC. “The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that almost 46,000 military veterans live in Denton County.”

Support may include emergency financial services, housing assistance, career assessment, education, certifications, counseling, job placement, homeless support, medical services and community support.

“We just had our first Homeless Veteran Stand Down on Oct. 22,” said Martin. “More than 50 people signed in and it went very well. It’s estimated that in the next five years, there will be an additional one-million ex-military. We need to get ahead of the services they’ll need.”

Veterans who served in a conflict overseas remember a stand down as a time when they pulled back, cleaned up, regrouped and were able to get some rest. The attending veterans were able to get winter clothing, boots, sleeping bags, toiletries and information about benefits, housing and medical/mental health care.

“We had volunteers who were able to work with the veterans who attended,” said Martin. “We even had free haircuts for the veterans.”

Among the many organizations which have been active coalition partners in resolving emergency financial assistance issues are the Vietnam Veterans of America Post 920 and the North DFW Military Officers Association of America.

Catholic Charities has helped DCVC keep veterans in their homes, while other partners have helped enroll veterans in animal-assisted therapy for PTSD treatment (SpiritHorse Therapeutic Center, Ranch Hand Rescue, Equest Therapeutic Riding Center).

“We also recently won a $50,000 grant from the Texas Veterans Commission to provide assistance, but so far we’ve only received $5,000,” said Martin.

On Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m., DCVC will host a meeting of 13 different service groups, including the VFW and the American Legion at the VFW Post 2205 at 909 Sunset St. in Denton.

“We’re hoping to put some programs in place to better help our veterans,” said Martin. “There are several ‘templates’ around the country that are very successful and we can follow what they’ve done. One of them is in New Orleans and we can apply those programs here.”

General meetings are held every third Wednesday of the month at 11:30 a.m. The board meetings, which are open to the public, are every second Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. Both meetings are held at The Mill, 1980 E. University in Denton.

For more information on DCVC, visit: www.veteransofdentoncounty.org.

Area Veterans Day Observances

The Highland Village Business Association will hold its 11th Annual “Salute Our Veterans” Luncheon on Monday, Nov. 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 785 SH-121 Bypass in Lewisville. The lunch is a time for fellowship with other Veterans in the area, as well as the forum for Congressman Burgess’ awarding of Congressional Commendation to local Veterans. RSVP to Lori Wright at 972-899-5131.

Pinewood Hills’ Backyard BBQ to benefit the Denton County Veteran’s Coalition is Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., 3901 Kirkpatrick Ln., Flower Mound. Event will include a meet-and-greet with former Dallas Cowboy legend Walt Garrison.

 The 17th Annual Lewisville ISD “We Remember” Veteran’s Day Celebration will be held in the Leo C. Stuver Auditorium inside Lewisville High School on Wednesday, Nov. 11. The Recognition Breakfast for veterans and their family members is free-of-charge and begins at 7:30 a.m. The public ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. with student speakers.

The Denton County Veterans Service Office, in coordination with the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, will conduct a Veterans Day Ceremony on the Square on the Denton County courthouse lawn Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to noon.

The Town of Flower Mound will honor local veterans at their 2nd annual Veterans Day Relay on Nov 11th where veterans and their family members will follow a course throughout Flower Mound carrying the American flag. After the event, the public is invited to attend a special post-run celebration from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Community Activity Center (CAC), 1200 Gerault Rd. Attendees are also invited to come prior to 5 p.m. to cheer on our relay runners completing the last leg of the relay run as they cross the finish line at the CAC. Refreshments will be served and Veterans Day Relay Run commemorative T-shirts will be available for $20. All proceeds from the T-shirt sales will go to the Denton County Veterans Coalition non-profit organization. Interested residents can make their own donation in honor of a special veteran here.

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