By Caitlin Switzer
MONTROSE COUNTY-Since the Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans (known locally as Welcome Home Montrose) was formed in late 2011, the programs and resources that the non-profit has been able to offer local veterans have grown exponentially. Now, Welcome Home Montrose—which includes the dedicated Warrior Resource Center at 11 South Park Avenue in Montrose—is heading for the West End.
“We will have our normal support and resources open to all veterans,” said Emily Smith, executive director of the Warrior Resource Center. “But now, we will be going to the West End once a month with coffee, goodies, and resources.”
With housing vouchers now available to homeless veterans in Montrose County and No Barriers Week 2015 (May 12-17) in the works, working with veterans throughout the County is essential, Smith noted.
“We have talked to town council in Nucla, and we met with the BOCC Monday,” Smith said. “The only place available is the airport building, so we’ll be out there on the second Wednesday of every month beginning April 8, from 10 a.m. to 4p.m.
“Many veterans are farmers, so we want to accommodate the irrigation schedule.”
The team behind the expansion includes Hospice Case Manager Tom Yoder, Megan Rexroth of the Western Slope Veterans Coalition, and Lisa Strauss of the Volunteers of America Back Home program. Those visiting the West End will include Veterans Center Counselor George Delahanty. Montrose County Veterans’ Resource Officer Sheldon Smith will travel to the West End as well, so veterans with claims to file do not have to travel to Montrose, Smith said.
Here in Montrose, attendance at the weekly veterans coffee (8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Thursdays) has expanded from four veterans in the beginning to more than 70 today. Community support continues to grow as well; Smith expressed great appreciation for the volunteers who staff the busy front desk at the Warrior Resource Center. “We have the most amazing front desk people,” she said. “I think that is one of the most important jobs that we have here, so thank you to our volunteers.”
Also coming up is Welcome Home Montrose Mission: No Barriers Week 2015, May 12-17, she said.
“We will be at the grand opening and ribbon cutting at the Whitewater Park with the City,” Smith said, “We’re hoping also to have Team River Runner and Todd and Gary Love attend.”