Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Illinois State Rep Steps Up For Veterans

Rep. Manley, D-Joliet, creates new Veterans Citizens Advisory Committee
Veterans, supporters come together for brainstorming session
The Herald News
By LAUREN LEONE–CROSS
January 18, 2016
Leverence, who has post-traumatic stress disorder, said the resources provided by the Will County VAC saved his life, and could save others, too.
State Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, speaks Monday to those in attendance at the first meeting of the Veterans Citizens Advisory Committee, held at her office in Joliet. The group will tackle challenges faced by veterans and try to help veterans through creation of legislation and building support networks. Nearly two dozen veterans, supporters and nonprofit leaders attended Manley's meeting.
JOLIET – State Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, said she hopes Monday’s meeting of her new citizens advisory committee will be the first of many dedicated to finding new ways to help veterans through legislation and building support networks.

Nearly two dozen veterans, supporters and nonprofit leaders attended Manley’s Veterans Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, held Monday morning at her office at 2701 Black Road in Joliet. The event was open to anyone.

Much of the event centered around challenges faced by veterans navigating the health care system and securing benefits, and the lack of support from non-veterans upon returning home.

Others, including Kevin Leverence, an Iraq war veteran from Joliet, suggested that the resources are there, but veterans don’t know about them. Community outreach requires money, which many nonprofits, VFW posts and other non-government agencies do not have, he said.

“Let’s bring people together,” Leverence said. “One of the best things we can do is find the best things that are already there. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

Veterans have available the Orland Park Vet Center, the Will County Veterans Assistance Commission, and Family and Friends Day Center Inc., a social service agency with three veterans houses in Joliet, he said.
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