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Forum gathers veterans’ resources for community

The Winchester Star - 9/27/2017

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The Veterans Community Partnership Forum, held in the Stimpson Auditorium at Shenandoah University on Tuesday, aims to bring together all manner of veterans’ resources in a community under a single banner.

“It’s a partnership,” said Frederick G. White Jr. of the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. The idea is to bring together local public and private organizations and nonprofit groups of all trades and specializations as partners in offering services to veterans of the U.S. military.

Throughout the day on Tuesday, principals and representatives of local companies, charities and public groups spoke about issues like homelessness and housing, employment and workforce skills, education, health, legal services, transportation, recreational therapy, faith services and counseling.

“It’s about building relationships with other organizations,” said Adam Packham, an Army veteran and founder of Heroes on the River, which takes combat veterans on outdoor recreation trips.

Packham, of Winchester, is on the eight-member planning committee that organized the event. There are 145 Veterans Community Partnership boards across the U.S., the closest being in Martinsburg, W.Va. Packham said he and others are trying to get another board running in Winchester. Once established, the board’s purpose would be to facilitate collaboration among community stakeholders centered around veterans’ issues.

“We want to be a complete resource for whatever a veteran needs.”

Anthony Barnes, a veteran outreach and constituent service specialist working in the office of Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-10th, said the forum was a “phenomenal way to bring resources for veterans into the community.”

Ashley Moslak, a representative of the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program at the Virginia Employment Commission, said the board can be a common body for any organization in the area that can offer services to veterans.

“We all have something to bring to the table,” Barnes said.

Moslak said another local forum will be scheduled to take place in coming months to complete efforts of establishing a board, which would meet regularly.

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Anyone interested in learning more about or taking part in a Veterans Community Partnership can contact Frederick White at frederick.white@va.gov or call 304-262-1250.

— Contact Onofrio Castiglia at ocastiglia@winchesterstar.com

 
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