AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — In 2014, Jim Womack as executive director of Family Support Services approached Verlene Dickson who had just retired from the United States Army to lead a new division of FSS.
That division would grow into the Veteran Resource Center, a veteran-staffed drop-in facility that provides offers a wide variety of resources and connections to veterans, family members, and surviving spouses with the opportunity to make their lives better.
Some of those resources include:
- Assistance for homeless and at-risk Veterans
- Benefits Assistance*
- Employment application assistance
- Equine therapy
- Individual, family and marital counseling
- Life skills training
- Networking with the local, area and statewide services for claims, compensation and
- Peer support groups
- Referrals to local Veteran-friendly agencies
All of the services provided at the Veterans Resource Center are provided at no cost.
Randy Willmon, Randall County veteran service officer for the Veteran Resource Center said most veterans that come into the VRC are needing assistance with benefits.
“So they really needed someone there that is really aware of how the system works. What forms need to be filled out, how to navigate the bureaucracy of that and get them into, get them benefits and get them care and a lot of the vets that I have been seeing, they don’t need money, they need access to care,” said Willmon.
Willmon added they saw an increase in veterans needing help when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“And even to this day, a lot of what I do is just benefit-related because it is a hot button issue with vets trying to access their care and getting the service connections that they deserve,” said Willmon.
Director of the Veterans Resource Center Verlene Dickson said they try not to duplicate services.
“So whatever we provide for you, it may not already be out there specifically for veterans,” said Dickson.
The Veterans Resource Center is currently working on getting a grant to hire their own counselor to provide peer-to-peer support and mental health care in the facility.
Willmon added they currently do peer-to-peer support groups. He said the benefit of a drop-in facility is you don’t need an appointment to talk.
“If you just want to come in and chew the fat, you’re at home alone and the walls start closing in on you, by all means, come on out here. We will sit down and just talk with you. You don’t have to have anything or need anything if you just want to come and tell stories we can do that as well,” said Willmon.
Dickson said they have a very simple motto at the VRC. No one is left behind.
“We’ll be here. We’ll always be here. Because that’s what veterans do. We have battle buddies and we stand by and no one is left behind,” added Dickson.
If you know a veteran or a veteran yourself in need of these resources, you can visit the Veterans Resource Center at 800 S. Rusk Street or give them a call at 806-342-2540.