Help contribute to the brave

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The Denton County Veterans’ Coalition is now up and running with the goal of helping veterans find the support services they need.

“It’s a grassroots organization to address the needs of veterans in Denton County,” said Heather Huhnke, president of the coalition. “The purpose of our organization is to bring veterans, private citizens, business owners, nonprofits … together in one area to figure out what resources are available. A lot of time they are out there — people just don’t know it.”

Huhnke took the reins of the organization from Ginger Simonson, who spearheaded the building of the coalition in 2012.

Simonson told us the idea began with the veterans advisory board, an official board that county commissioners appointed to oversee delivery of veterans’ benefits throughout the county. The board worked closely with the veterans service office, as well.

After holding meetings with the public and people who deal with veterans on a regular basis, Simonson said, it became apparent that not enough was being done to connect veterans with the help they needed.

“A lot of vets fall through the cracks because no one really knows what to do,” Huhnke said.

While many agencies, businesses and people want to support veterans, they often do not know what resources are available. The Denton County Veterans’ Coalition was formed to help solve that problem.

“I made a pitch to Judge Mary Horn and Commissioner Andy Eads last September and asked if we could push forward in forming a coalition,” Simonson said.

Months later, the group is holding monthly meetings and offering training to help veterans deal with issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, financial management and everything in between. The program can help veterans who are having problems paying rent or who need new clothes to go on job interviews, officials said.

“We’ve looked at different things in the past to decide what is needed as we evolve, addressing the different needs as they come up so the veterans are taken care of,” Huhnke said.

The organization is in the process of submitting its 501(c)3 paperwork for nonprofits.

“We’re hoping to get a grant to have emergency funds available. A lot of it now has been donations within the different organizations. We’d like to have the funds where we’re not doing that every single time,” she said.

Huhnke said she wants to have funds to bring in leaders and teachers for training and workshops on such topics as resume writing.

More information about the coalition is available by contacting Simonson at 817-683-2870 or vgws56@gmail.com.

We offer our thanks to those who have worked to get the Denton County Veterans’ Coalition established and we encourage others to contribute in every way they can to this vital project.

Denton County is home to many veterans, and helping these brave men and women find the resources and services they need should be a top priority,

After all they’ve done for us, we must make sure that we are always there for them.


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