On a typical, quiet Wednesday afternoon, I find myself suddenly wishing I had a million dollars and a megaphone. After meeting with Bryan Roy, founder of Veterans First Light, and his colleague Kayla, I become so positively thrilled that there is a new resource in our community for veterans and their families, that I truly wish I had the monetary resources to catapult this non-profit to reach every possible veteran in need (and a megaphone to tell the good news). I am absolutely astounded by the number of veterans who call our law firm looking for financial advice. Can you imagine how relieved I am to now have a resource for these callers when they need more than bankruptcy?
My name is Elizabeth, and I answer the phone when you call us with questions.
When you call me and tell me about your situation, sometimes you just need an ear. Sometimes you need a concrete solution. Other times, you just need someone to point you in the right direction. I answer basic questions about bankruptcy, whether or not you qualify, what chapter you may qualify for, and steps to getting you started with an attorney. Regularly, however, I make it a point to become familiar with your situation and hardships for two reasons:
1) I've been where some of you are.
2) I don't believe in being backed into a corner and staying there.
That's where a lot of you are (even right now as I type this) - in that corner with your backs to the wall. And if I'm going to be honest, bankruptcy isn't for some of you. I have to admit, there are times when I just can't help some of the needs of our veterans. I need more resources because you need more resources.
That's why I'm highlighting the new non-profit in Valdosta: Veterans First Light. Bringing support, awareness, and empowerment to south Georgia communities, Veterans First Light (or V1L) was founded by Bryan Roy, a disabled war veteran with a vision to "break the status quo by helping to improve our veterans' quality of life."
This past weekend, my friend Kayla was telling me about this new non-profit she helps with, and I just had to see it personally. So Wednesday, my co-worker Crystal and I found ourselves gawking in awe at the memorabilia that furnishes the entrance to Veterans First Light. Bryan told us the background of uniforms, knives and success stories of other local veteran heroes. From one support advocate to another, I can tell Bryan's mission is more than a statement on a brochure, it's a commitment.
Riddled with statistics, his brochure throws some pretty startling figures:
20% of national suicides are completed by veterans
There are 23 million U.S. military vets
300,000 Iraq & Afghanistan war veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD
There are 322,000 unemployed veterans
There are 4,000 new PTSD cases each month
29% of Lowndes County's population consists of military members and their families
V1L has a three-tiered program:
Support-Veterans helping veterans, at no cost. These services provide group and individual therapy, spiritual counseling, coaching, and basic household items.
Advocacy- Have someone help you understand Veterans Affairs, the benefits, health services and compensation.
Empowerment- Helps with job placement and searches, and services for navigating through healthcare options.
Additionally, V1L is presenting Freedom Fest 2018 with the rock band Madison Rising and guest speaker George Aigen, World War II hero veteran who helped liberate Dachau Concentration Camp. V1L will also be presenting awards to local heroes who go above and beyond the call of duty to reach the hinterlands of our veteran community.
It's March 4th, $10 to go, and it's the easiest way to show your support.
It is important to me that anyone who calls Woodall & Woodall, who goes to our website or comes in to our office is made aware of available resources, no matter what your situation is. Whether it be veteran-based resources, credit score improvement or local school-drives for free back-to-school supplies, I want our community to know that no one should feel alone. We all are in situations where our backs are to the wall, but there is not a better time than now to lean on each other.
As always, call us if you have any questions about financial burdens. But by all means, feel free to check out V1L's website for more information!