Outreach brings services to veterans

Outreach brings services to veterans

September 26th, 2009 by Todd South in News

Staff photo by Matt Fields-Johnson Angela Lawrence, a veterans outreach specialist, helps U.S. Army veteran Paul Stanfield fill out paperwork for the Tennessee Career Center at Chattanooga so that he can receive help in getting a new job. Mr. Stanfield was attending veterans outreach day at the Development Resource Center on Market Street.

Staff photo by Matt Fields-Johnson Angela Lawrence, a veterans...

When many veterans complete their military service and return home there's not a military base nearby, one place they can go to get help with the mountain of paperwork they often face.

On Friday Chattanooga-area veterans had a "one-stop-shop" to learn about services available from health to work and education.

Paul Stanfield, a Vietnam-era Army veteran, came to the event to ask about job-hunting tools and networking.

Mr. Stanfield said the event saved him time running all over to different offices for various services that all are veteran related.

He had checked online for job leads and information, but he said the event was "better than online because you can talk to somebody."

That's the goal of the outreach program, said Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner John Keys.

Mr. Keys said that when he took over the office in 2003, the department held few outreach events. Most veterans had to come into the office and then be told where to go next, he said.

Once the department started holding the events, he said, "We found out there were veterans, especially in the rural areas, who were not aware they were eligible for benefits."

Dan Paupp, veterans benefits representative, said benefits extend beyond education and resources. Medical problems should be identified as early as possible and evaluated to see if a veteran is eligible for compensation or assistance.

"The longer you wait it's just more money you're losing," Mr. Paupp said.

Angela Lawrence helped Mr. Stanfield and others Friday with job applications and employment resources. She said that with her experience as an Army veteran she can better help other veterans learn how best to apply for jobs based on their experience.

Often a veteran will come out of the service with a lot of training and leadership, but all of that looks like jargon to an employer, she said. With some Web sites and a few tips, work that sounds confusing can be translated into contemporary job skills, she said.