SUPPORTING OUR LOCAL VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Over the years, veterans and their family members have expressed the critical need for expanded, wrap-around services throughout our rural communities to United Way staff, board and volunteers. Understanding the need, UWNEMN recruited Wilder Research to help determine the most critical issues for UWNEMN to focus on. Wilder Research spent the better part of 2014 conducting Key Informant Interviews with veterans, their family members and local service providers. There was also an online survey available for those that preferred to participate that way.
Veterans expressed their biggest challenges were related to healthcare services which included long wait times, long distance travel, few qualified providers that understand, and concerns with social stigma and confidentiality. A family member expressed concern regarding their father, “There is such a stigma around mental health and seeking out help…. They are trained to be strong, they are trained to shut off that emotional part of them….,” Additional struggles expressed were issues with financial stability and employment as well as the culture shock when returning to civilian life. One veteran who served during Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) stated, “Emotional bonding levels are challenging. They want to know exactly what happened, what I did, but I get frustrated telling the story over and over again…”
UWNEMN is focusing on the most critical issues at hand with the support of a committee "United for Veterans" that is comprised of local veterans from the Iron Range whose mission is: "To create an environment of honor and respect for all fellow comrades in Northeastern Minnesota, while developing opportunities, supporting those in need and empowering veterans." UWNEMN’s vision is that all veterans in Northeastern Minnesota will have access not only to health care, financial stability and employment but to high quality and culturally competent support. This access and support will allow veterans, their families, and our communities to flourish, grow and thrive.
The Wall That Heals visit to the Chisholm area June 25-28, 2020 has been canceled.
This event, hosted by the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota's United for Veterans committee would have brought the preeminent replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the area for Vietnam veterans, family members, and other members of the public. UWNEMN, United for Veterans, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund jointly decided to postpone the visit out of an abundance of caution for our visitors and volunteers.
While disappointed this decision has become necessary, we already are looking at upcoming summers to reschedule this important event. Stay tuned for more details!
The exhibit features a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. Visitors have the opportunity to do name rubbings of individual service member’s names on The Wall.
In addition, the 53-foot trailer that carries The Wall transforms to become a mobile Education Center featuring a timeline of the war, more information about the Memorial in Washington D.C., and a collection of items that have been left at The Wall.
Want to support local veterans? Consider donating to UWNEMN's United for Veterans program.
$100 covers the cost of one holiday meal kit for a local veteran and their family to celebrate for a holiday weekend.
To donate online, click here, or consider designating to United for Veterans in your payroll deduction at your workplace. Checks can be mailed directly to 608 East Drive, Chisholm, MN 55719. If you'd like your donation to support United for Veterans, please indicate so in your check memo.