Getting The Word Out

January 7, 2010 by Legion Magazine

Finding ways to actively reach out to reservists, ex-military personnel, their families and friends in order to keep them informed of the many services available once they have returned from a deployment or have left the military, is an ongoing challenge. It is certainly one faced by the Legion and other concerned organizations such as the Integrated Personnel Support Centre and Veterans Affairs Canada.

To ensure these individuals are reminded that they are not alone “out there” is not always an easy task. In order to combine resources towards the development of a plan to also provide outreach to families and friends of reservists and veterans in Nova Scotia, a meeting was held at the Military Family Resource Centre in Halifax. In attendance at that meeting were representatives from Maritime Atlantic Command’s Integrated Personnel Support Centre, the Halifax Military Family Resources Centre, No. 36 Reserve Brigade (headquartered in Halifax), the Operational Stress Injury Social Support program and the Legion.

The overall objective of the meeting was to co-ordinate a plan to proceed with a collective effort to provide, by way of “road trips,” an outreach to former and still serving Canadian Forces members including reservists, their families and friends living in communities located outside Halifax.

Through a series of presentations held at local levels, the collective would introduce or remind interested parties about the various services, support mechanisms and programs available to qualified personnel. Emphasis would be placed on reaching out to personnel suffering from service related injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder-type injuries and any personnel returning from deployment duties whether regular or reserve forces.

We are pleased to report that to date presentations, which have included Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command Service Officer Marc Gauthier, have been held at Legion branches in Truro (twice), Springhill (twice), Sydney, Glace Bay, New Glasgow and Pictou. Each presentation consisted of 12- to 15-minute briefings from each of the above mentioned five key players complete with handouts and question periods. Business cards from each guest speaker were also made available.

The Legion presentations centred mainly on the disability pension process and the key ingredients and evidence required for a claim to receive a favourable ruling. Services offered by the Legion, including the poppy fund and command and Dominion Command benevolent funds as well as direct pension assistance and advocacy on behalf of veterans and serving CF personnel in need were also discussed and well received.

While turnouts have not been what had been hoped for, we are pleased to report that individuals attending have indicated they were pleased with the presentations and the fact of knowing that our returning from deployment or retired military personnel requiring assistance were not simply dropped by the system. In fact, it was found to be comforting by many of those attending that all that is needed to get the wheel turning is a simple phone call from a concerned parent or friend.

Serving You is written by Legion command service officers. To reach a service officer call toll-free 1-877-534-4666, or consult a command website. For 3 years of archives, visit www.legionmagazine.com

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