Last week I had the pleasure of talking to Paul F. Roy Jr. the executive director of Veteran Awareness Coalition, a non-profit organization based in New Hampshire. Veteran Awareness Coalition has a mission and that mission is to provide veterans and their families with every resource possible to deal with post war issues, access other fellow veterans in order to create the possibility of successful reintegration and participation in life in a way that is meaningful. From PTSD awareness and treatment to Legislation affecting veterans, VAC says they will stand behind you every step of the way.
Q. Paul, when did you start VAC and what is your organization doing for veterans?
A. Veteran Awareness Coalition officially started March 4, 2011. We currently offer support and referral guidance to ensure veterans receive the benefits they deserve. We hope that future funding will allow us to provide more resources to veterans in the form of homeless aid, employment programs and temporary financial assistance.
Q. Where is this future funding expected to come from?
A. Currently we rely solely on donations. It it our hope that we will be able to receive grants from larger corporations and federal funding to support our mission.
Q. How far can the reach of VAC go?
A. Our mission is to help veterans in Southern New Hampshire, BUT we have had several calls from veterans around the country and we WON’T turn our backs on a veteran. We will assit any veteran who asks for our assistance, however depending on where they are sometimes the amount of assistance we can provide is limited. Our hopes are that down the road we will be able to have offices in every state to assist veterans around the country.
Q. Let’s say I’m a homeless veteran in North Texas. What can you do for me?
A. The greatest thing that we can do is listen and provide emotional support to you as a veteran in need. Once we have information as to what services you need we will guide you through the steps of contacting the right people locally to get you the best assistance. The biggest goal with the homeless veteran population is getting all those who don’t want to be homeless off the streets and into stable housing. There are programs like VASH (VA sustainable housing) and homeless program coordinators that we can connect with anywhere in the country. Then as you get the assistance you need we will still be here for support during the process.
Q. How many veterans has VAC helped since March 2011?
A. In the last 6 months we have helped 8 veterans, and as people continue to become aware of our organization and the services we provide those numbers will rise.
Q. Do you think veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are getting the best treatment they possibly can from the government?
A. I think it’s common knowledge that the VA system has some issues, but as veterans we can help to make the positive changes by letting them know what we need. Together we can make the system better so that no veteran has to suffer.
Q. How can someone who is interested get more information or donate to VAC?
A. The website at www.vetawarenesscoalition.com is a great source of information as well as an avenue for veterans to post and share with each other in chat and forums. They can also contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone at 603-264-8502. Donations can be made by mail to 40 Sullivan St. Manchester, NH 03102 or by paypal and of course all donations are appreciated and tax deductible. We also make a small amount from our online merchandise through the store on the VAC website.
Q. Anything you want to add Paul?
A. Just that, the Veteran Awareness Coalition thanks each and every veteran for their sacrifice, as well as the sacrifies made by their families and that “You Are Not Alone.”
If you run a non-profit for the purpose of helping veterans I’d like to share your story with the world! Please send an email to [email protected] and I will contact you shortly.