Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

November 9, 2012

Honoring our Veterans - Part 1 of 2

Area groups provide support to military vets

JACKSONVILLE —

Two county groups founded in recent years to benefit veterans are slowly, but surely, making inroads.

Lone Star Military Resource Group, which serves as clearinghouse of information for veterans seeking assistance, was created “a couple of years ago” when local veterans advocate Julianne Sanford realized “I had a lot of information and resources I wanted to share.”

Sanford, whose husband served in the military, was a family readiness leader and had amassed information that provided moral support for military families. But “what really kind of grabbed me by the heartstrings was (when) I realized I had all of this and couldn't just sit on them,” she said.

“I needed to share them, to help people after I became aware of the unacceptable rate of military suicide and the disintegration of military families,” she said.

Because Cherokee County is a rural county, assistance – while available – isn't always readily known about.

“Veterans are very grateful,” Sanford said. “We're trying to make community members aware of what they can do. I know I say that repeatedly, but the civilian population doesn't recognize the needs are here because they don't look any different. The challenge and the obligation is to meet (veterans') needs, not because they're asking, but because it's a service we can give to those who have served. It's about raising awareness of the needs.”

The resource group provides information on the local, state and national level, and Sanford said her ultimate goal is to be able to replicate the group's efforts in other communities. “We want to be able to duplicate them so that the resources to go further. We're not a club with boundaries, but an organization that wants to spread resources.”

For more information about the Lone Star Military Resource Group, contact Sanford at 903-810-0303 or email cjsan06@aol.com.

The Marine Corps League was founded in 1923 so that “veterans could come in and help serve the community,” said Stephen Hutson, Junior Vice Commandant of the Marine Corps League Detachment 1381, serving Cherokee County. “It's organization made up of Marines and Naval corpsmen who just want to give back to the community.”

According to the group website, mcleague.com, the League operates 11 different programs.

It also has created the Wounded Marine Program, and recently, the local detachment set up the “Ellis Warrior Fund” at Austin Bank to benefit the Warrior and Family Support Center in San Antonio.

The WFSC's Mission, to provide a comfortable, welcoming, and friendly environment for wounded warriors and their families to relax, have fun, participate in activities and find support as they transition to their new norm, said detachment member Chuck Bones.

The local organization also is accepting gift cards, disposable cameras, baked goods, candy, individually wrapped snacks, music CDs, DVDs, popcorn, diapers, formula and personal hygiene products to donate to WFSC.

For more information, contact Chuck Bones at 903-721-1277, or email bonesharley@aol.com.

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