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Veterans for Veterans, veterans helping veterans

By Arizona Lowe
Special to The SUN

Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County has been in the news quite a bit in the last few weeks.

First, there was the silent auction, which raised almost $3,000 for the general fund.

Then, there was is the $20,000 in grant funding we are currently in the process of distributing to needy veterans.

Every week, we have a listing in The PREVIEW announcing our meeting, the women’s group meeting, the combat meeting, and the availability of individual counseling.

But, what do you really know about the group Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County?

This group is a grassroots volunteer charitable organization, 501(c)(3), comprising local veterans and their families who support each other through the ongoing hardships of readjusting to civilian life. Sharing the experiences of the benefit application process, struggles with PTSD, career building frustrations and other adjustment issues, these veterans choose to continue serving their community.

A local Veterans Helpline, (970) 799-VETS (8387), is monitored 24/7 by a Veterans for Veterans member to help any veteran in need. For nearly a year, this number has received calls for financial assistance, help during a move, transportation to a medical appointment, need for firewood or water or help during emotional distress.

In its inaugural year, Veterans for Veterans was 154 members strong. Thousands of volunteer hours and gallons of gas were spent by veterans as they delivered firewood or food to a veteran in need. More hours and more gas were spent visiting shut-in veterans and those in the nursing home.

Veterans for Veterans helped develop a treatment track in the local court system that has now spread to Durango. They maintain an active outreach program to the Southern Ute and the Jicarilla Apache veterans in addition to the outreach they have with other vets in southwest Colorado. Through this group’s effort, a Veteran Readjustment Counselor was sent to southwest Colorado and, in two years, 2,500-plus hours have been logged for individual and group counseling.

Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a local organization developed to meet the needs of local veterans. As this group moves forward, it will continue to grow and evolve into a functioning center of local veteran and veteran family support.

Visit the website, http://vets4vetspsco.org, or attend a weekly meeting on Tuesdays to find out more information about this group and how you can be actively involved. Membership is only $10 per year.

This story was posted on June 20, 2013.