Allen, TX. – JUNE 18, 2015
The Veterans Center of North Texas (VCONT) announced their Collin County Kickoff Event with a successful breakfast for elected officials.
Held on June 12 at Brio Tuscan Grille in Allen, the kickoff breakfast event brought together 10 Collin County Chamber executives, 8 Mayors, the Collin County Judge and 1 Collin County Commissioner, 3 City Councilmen from Collin County, 2 County Judges, 1 State Senator, 1 State Representative and 6 representatives for our US Representative and Senator field offices. Other guests included representatives from the American Legion, the VFW and other organizations that serve veterans in Collin County.
Paul Hendricks, USAF Veteran and President of VCONT, provided a presentation to over 60 invited guests informing them about the group’s mission and vision; To assist veterans of all ages navigate through the network of public and private agencies to obtain assistance, services and support required to maintain productive livelihoods in the North Texas communities.
Plano-based VCONT was formed in March of 2014 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization to help veterans and their families assimilate into civilian life and become productive members of Collin County communities. The goal of VCONT is three-pronged – 1) to help veterans learn about benefits available to them, 2) to assess their needs and 3) to connect veterans to over 200 service providers located in the North Texas region.
All services by VCONT are provided at no cost to each veteran. VCONT has established a volunteer training program in order to ensure that each veteran is provided with accurate information about each service provider. VCONT is initially focused in Collin County to provide this comprehensive referral service to local veterans and their families. Growth plans include services to Grayson, Cooke, Hunt, Fannin and Rockwall counties.
“In Collin County alone, we have roughly 100,000 veterans, many of whom are in need of some type of assistance as they transition to civilian life. The Veterans Center of North Texas will not only help local veterans navigate the enormous network of public and private agencies, but it will also serve as a place to connect with other returning service men and women who desperately need a sense of community and support,” said Collin County Commissioner Susan Fletcher. “Good leaders lead by example, and I applaud the leadership of the VCONT for their innovative approach in creating a totally volunteer organization that is fully dedicated to helping connect veterans with partner service organizations”.
Over 1.8 million veterans reside in Texas. The North Texas area currently has about 160,000 veterans, with projections for 2017 estimating 205,000. North Texas veterans do not have a centralized resource from which to gather information and / or services. Additionally, planned federal military force reductions will increase the veteran population.
According to a recent Bush Institute study, there is a shortfall in connecting veterans to available services. Veterans have high rates of unemployment, homelessness and mental health issues (PTSD and suicide). Additionally, 67% percent of veterans polled say they don’t know where or how to get help.
Veterans Center of North Texas Press Release