Helping our nation's heroes bridge the gap between military service and everyday life is the goal of one Montrose organization.
Welcome Home Montrose is a growing non-profit organization who is hoping to bring veterans to Montrose, making the community a welcoming place for post-war life.
Welcome Home Montrose founder Melanie Kline knew she wanted to make a difference in the lives of veterans, and started at home.
"Once they are released and get their medical discharge, they are pretty much on their own as they re enter civilian life, family life, the job world, we are a community that is concerned about that and want to make sure they have a high success rate”, said Kline.
So she founded a community-driven organization, which serves as a hub for the area's veteran services, connecting vets with those who are most willing and able to help them.
"Within this last year we have been strengthening partnerships, taking a look at our services, trying to identify the gaps and fill them. So when we invite particularly wounded troops here, they will be able to stay if they want to", said Kline.
Kline says she's working with about 550 people and groups who have extended help to the organization... wanting to be part of this support system for our nation's heroes.
"Sometimes you need a helping hand, and I think this organization, Welcome Home Montrose, gives additional help for those who are looking for work that need to be retrained or trained, and that is the kind of organization I want to be involved in" said Jerry Lingo, Vietnam Veteran Welcome Home Montrose Supporter.
Vietnam veteran Jerry Lingo is one of those supporters, he has brought his understanding of war to the wounded warrior center nearly every day to help other vets.
He's among an army of supporters, bringing experience ranging from the medical field to social contacts and more... more than making up for the lack of a v-a hospital in Montrose.
"Whether it is physical therapy, surgeons, or grief counselors, psychiatrist... we help them get in touch with people who are very competent and capable of taking care of their direct needs", said David Crane, Welcome Home Montrose public spokesman.
The goal being to bring as many veterans to Montrose as possible by setting up a support system to help them get the life they deserve, Kline said, "if we can attract just half of one percent, just half of one percent, that is 250 people into our community, that will enrich our community greatly and give them and their families an opportunity to be here"
Welcome Home Montrose officials are also trying to push for a tracking mechanism which will help get paperwork processed. The idea brought Senator Udall to Montrose, who met with Welcome Home Montrose representatives recently.
If you're interested in becoming a supporter of welcome home Montrose or are a veteran in need of services, you can find more information about it in the link below.