Veterans returning from combat can have a tough road ahead of them, and a new group in York County hopes to serve as a bridge between those who served and the organizations set up to offer assistance when they're home.
Several community members came together to start the York County Veterans Outreach Group, said Susan Byrnes, chairwoman of the group. Their mission is to serve as a gateway for all the resources available to veterans and their families. With continued work, Byrnes said, the group hopes to identify any gaps in services to veterans.
The group is hosting Rally Point on Sunday, a free event for veterans to come to one place and interact with 35 of the organizations in the county and state set up to offer assistance.
"We're trying to make it easy for them (veterans) to realize that these services are in our community," Byrnes said.
Some of those include the York County Veterans Treatment Court, York County Housing and Heroes on the Water. Another is the Hometown Heroes ID program, which gives veterans an identification card to receive discounts at numerous local businesses.
Website, too: Byrnes said the first phase of the project was to create a website, www.salute4service.org, that links to the available resources in the area. Eventually, Byrnes said, the group would also like to create a section of the website that links to businesses that are looking to hire veterans. That way, she said, veterans in need of jobs could visit the website and find a list of places to apply first.
Byrnes said another goal is to keep public awareness high for the needs of veterans in the York area.
"It's easy for civilians to forget that we have thousands upon thousands of young veterans trying to assimilate back in their community," she said. "We want to keep that awareness out there."
Rally Point will take place from noon to 3 p.m. at the Byrnes Health Education Center, 515 S. George St. in York.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.