Yesterday, I traveled to Houston to meet with superwomen T’Liza Kiel and Valerie James. They take care of veterans, organize volunteers, respond to emergencies, and throw events in the Houston area. Counting the areas they support, they are providing assistance to about as many veterans as the entire state of Minnesota. Houston has one of the oldest Veteran Treatment Courts in the nation. Valerie manages over 40 court mentors along with her other tasks.
It was good to see that they both had offices (or an area) in the Combined Arms facility downtown. This innovative veterans resource center incorporates a number of great veteran support organizations and offers services like shuttle rides to the local VA hospital, claims days, and a host of social events. Plus, it keeps John Boerstler and the two Br(y)(i)ans from wandering the streets! (just kidding – those three are among the most active and staunches veteran advocates around).
I was able to interview a few people about their use of the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale, a project I can only complete with the help of the MVPN peer service coordinators. Their commitment and professionalism and that of the volunteers shown through in each interview and the tough situations they described. With T’Liza and Valerie at work, Houston vets can truly know someone has their back. These folks really get after it!