Veterans Support Service Program shuts down due to lack of funding

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

SHERMAN, TX-Soldiers returning home from serving overseas are often faced with a number of issues that can make adjusting to life at home difficult. Now, they're faced with one more difficulty after a local veterans support program closes its doors.
Texoma Community Center's Veteran Support Services program started serving area veterans last year. But three weeks ago, the center's executive director, Tony Maddox, found out that the program is being cut because of a lack of funding.

Vietnam veteran, Larry Harding was upset when he found out the Veterans Support Services program is ending. He said soldiers returning from fighting overseas often have a difficult time adjusting and dealing with problems like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"If they don't get the help and support they need after they were asked to go in harm's way, you know, they're going to fight all this by themselves. There's too many of them coming back that can't get back on their feet," Harding said.

Texoma Community Center executive director, Tony Maddox said they started Veteran Support Services last year after they were awarded a state grant of $70,000, which is good for two years, from the Department of State Health Service. But for the next fiscal year, they were given $33,000. Maddox said it's not enough.

"I did request twice, three times actually, for additional funding. But there's just was not available from the state," he said.

The program is designed to help returning soldiers and veterans find services that match their needs, as well as provide peer-to-peer support groups.

"Veterans are sometimes reluctant to seek out support, I don't know if that's due to feeling like maybe it's a sign of weakness or maybe due to trauma, they're not willing to talk openly to people," said Maddox.

"It's a tight knit group. When you're over fighting a battle, people are watching your back, you depend on people. When you come back, you feel alone and they need the camaraderie of others around them," said Harding.

"Hopefully the work goes on. It's just the unfortunate fact that we're not employing an individual to make sure it does," said Maddox.

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