American Legion Post 159 in Bryan, Texas, staged multiple veteran resource fairs prior to the pandemic in order to bring a variety of services under one roof.
Those halted for a few years, but it’s back this year. And one of its organizers believes the timing couldn’t be better.
The post’s Veteran Resource Fair will take place from 8-10 a.m. Oct. 7; a breakfast will be served from 8-10. Post 159 Legionnaire Susan Marty, a past Department of Texas historian and one of the organizers of the resource fair, said bringing an event such as the post’s to veterans fall in line with The American Legion’s Be the One mission to reduce veteran suicides.
“I think it’s important for (veterans) to reestablish a support network within the community they’re living in,” Marty said. “Once you step off a military installation in the big, wide world, it’s not easy to connect with other people. That’s the broader issue.
“I will also say that we have at least two organizations that are going to be there – our local (National Alliance on Mental Illness) chapter and a local organization that is providing mental health workshops at our post who will be there. We have a mental health component there.”
Other veteran service organizations will be in attendance, as will a county service officer and representatives from the Texas Veterans Commission. Marty also is hoping staff from the Department of Veterans Affairs will be available to participate.
Local businesses and social service organizations, also will be available, as will experts on VA’s home loan program, and estate and end-of-life planning.
“It’s a smorgasbord of services,” Marty said. “People are always asking these types of questions of our post officers, of our service officer. We have pretty good outreach within our Legion Family, but this is a bigger outreach to the wider community.”
Those veterans who meet with the service officer on site will be available to answer questions. And if the need to file a benefits claim arises, the service officer will schedule an appointment with the veteran.
In addition to advertising the resource fair on social media, the post also has gotten stories on the event broadcast on both the local CBS and NBC affiliates.
“We’ve also done some outreach to the student veteran population over at Texas A&M (University),” Marty said. “They’re newer veterans, and they may not know what’s available in this community.”