LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The City of Lubbock Veterans Advisory Committee (VAC) is on a new mission to make sure those who have served our country can find the help they need once they're back in civilian life.
They're working to reorganize and enhance the list of available resources on the city's website into a "virtual rally point." As the site stands now, those resources include contact information for anything from local organizations offering social activities to federal programs offering financial assistance.
"We thought to better serve the citizens of Lubbock we needed to organize it in terms of community-based resources, counseling and mental health resources and then, of course, education-based resources, benefits, etc.," Committee member and Navy veteran Sara Henly said. "We thought that it would be easier for people to reach out to those resources if we had a reorganized website."
Committee members say accessing needed resources isn't always easy and in some situations could be the difference between life and death for returning service members.
Marine veteran Kyle Chapman told his story to the City Council when the VAC originally requested the changes. He wanted to put a face to the mission and show them who it affects.
"I am one of those faces but there are many of us," Chapman said. "Through my transition in 2005, going back to school and trying to find places where I could just kind of fit in, really, it was a disaster for me. I left school, all Fs in '05 and kind of went on a downhill slide. Well, I did go on a downhill slide for about five years until I started seeing a specialist at the VA clinic, at which point led me to going to a the VA rehab in Amarillo, at which point led me back into school and into the work I do today."
Chapman says finding those resources is what stopped him from ending his life.
"The reason the 'virtual rally point' is so important in that sense is a lot of the resources I just mentioned that assisted me will be a part of that collective resource point," Chapman said. "The VA was instrumental in identifying that I was struggling with some mental issues. They helped me out there. The military and veterans program knew that I needed some help with my education and understanding my educational benefits. They helped me out there."
The VAC is now gathering input on the redesign and reaching out to organizations they feel should be included in the list of resources.
"A lot of time people, especially when they are separated from the service and either they came from Lubbock and they are just returning home or they are starting fresh here, they really don't know what is available to them," Henly said. "The fact that the city even has a VAC that will offer these contacts to them, it will make those processes a lot easier for them."
The VAC hopes these efforts will help veterans find their purpose outside of their service. Click here for more information.