United for Veterans

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…”
To view the synopsis of the veterans study please CLICK HERE

To view the full report please CLICK HERE.

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.

Programming to date includes:
2. Development of a veterans resource center at Hibbing Community College which created a space on campus for veterans to study as well as access the veteran service officer who provides assistance with the G.I. Bill and other military benefits. 
4.  A crisis fund which allows veterans and servicemembers experiencing a hardship to apply for financial assistance to offset the cost of a basic living expense. Applications for the crisis fund can be obtained by visiting a local County Veteran Service office in Ely, Hibbing or Virginia.
5. Annual local retreats for veterans, including the upcoming Women Veterans' Retreat.
6. Grant disbursements to local veteran service organizations. Most recent was a $10,000 grant to Veterans on the Lake Resort in Ely, a barrier-free resort that serves veterans and their families throughout the Midwest. This grant will be used to provide scholarships to veterans that may not otherwise be able to afford their stay at the resort and Gold Star Military families
7. A partnership with Delta Air Lines and its employees allowed United for Veterans to create crisis backpacks that include basic essentials for homeless veterans in our region.
8. Annual holiday meal kits are disbursed to veterans that have been supported by the Crisis Fund or referred by a local County Veteran Service office. 
9. The United for Veterans/MACV Transitional Home is the only transitional home for homeless veterans in our region.             
10. United for Veterans successfully applied for The Wall That Heals to come Chisholm, Minn, in June of 2020. Click here for more information.                                                                                        

For more information regarding United for Veterans, please contact Erin at 218-254-3329 or erin@unitedwaynemn.org 

If you would like to donate to support UWNEMN's United for Veterans program, click here!