New group aims to assist veterans make transition back to civilian life

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A newly formed group of Vicksburg residents is taking up a worthy fight by helping recently discharged veterans re-acclimate to civilian life with counseling, housing, education and workforce assistance.

Longtime veterans advocate Eva Ford, a retired nurse and president of the American Legion Post 3 Auxiliary, is president of the Vicksburg Warren Veterans Transition Center and summed up its purpose well.

“If you can’t help a soldier get on his feet, I don’t know where your Christian love is,” she said. “If they can go on the battlefield and put their lives on the line to save us, we ought to be able to help them when they get back here and not criticize them. This is a community thing. It’s all about helping our people.”

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The project is in the planning stages now and will become a reality once the board finds and suitable building to house the transition center.

Transition is the key word.

“The word is transition, simple because they are not homeless; they’re making the transition from the time they leave the service with no job and no money; they’re transferring from one service to another,” Ford said.

The community is already pitching in to help in a great show of support.

NRoute, the city’s public transportation system, has agreed to put a bus stop in front of the center and will offer monthly passes so veterans can go to job interviews and other appointments. Warren-Yazoo Mental Health has agreed to work with the shelter, and retired teachers will come to the shelter to help veterans prepare to seek jobs by helping them with courses like math and English.

The plan is for veterans in the center to serve the community.

“For someone coming back who doesn’t have a job, cooking and helping someone else is good for them, psychological release of feeling needed, and that would help them help others,” Ford said.

They have served our country, and now it’s time to help them get back on their feet.