Two veterans organizations, TaskForceVetVisits and VetUnite, will come together in Paris on Friday to talk to local veterans and the general public about challenges they may face when they come home.
Chuck Asher, a Paris resident and member of TaskForceVetVisits, said the program begins at 6 p.m. at the Oakland Community Center at 4435 Highway 69 South and strives to bridge the gap between active duty and life at home.
“VetsUnite is about giving the resources available to veterans and to help them with the necessary paperwork. TaskForceVetVisits is trying to reach out to those who think they are all alone,” Asher, a Marine veteran who spent seven years on active duty and was discharged in 1999, said. “(We want them to know) they’re not.”
He said TaskForceVetVisits was started about two years ago when he found his way to a forum called VetUnite. He said he is particularly concerned about the vets coming home from active duty with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He met others on the forum who agreed with him and wanted to create a program that would encourage others to “look in on a veteran.”
“I knew Vietnam vets who took me under their wing (when I got out). With those coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq, we want to help them,” Asher said. “We’d like to have someone who can respond (to them) in the time of crisis.
“Many vets don’t know what the (Veterans Administration) can do for them. Some may just need a visit.”
He said veterans may have different needs, and the two organizations are visiting 24 locations in 18 days to meet with veterans, advocates, Gold Star families, which include those who have lost a loved one in military service, and Blue Star families, those that have had a family member in the Armed Forces during any period of war to present some options.
Asher said there is no fee or donation to participate, you only need to have the desire to help a veteran.
“We are just trying to reach out so veterans who think they are all alone, know that’s not the truth,” he said. “It’s a good mission, and it’s evolving.”