Holly Area Veterans Center Opens
(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 24, 2016)
Holly, MI – Frustrated by long drives and long wait times, veterans and their supporters in Holly got together to create the Holly Area Veterans’ Resource Center inside the Karl Richter Community Center at 300 East Street.
“The idea was not to take over for any service organization. The idea was that we are in no man’s land when it comes to service. We’re between Oakland County and Genesee County and for those who you who lived in Holly for a long time you know exactly what that means. It means if you want service you’ve got to go someplace else,” said Joe Mishler who led a brief ceremony before the ribbon cutting on June 20.
“The idea is we need someplace where Veterans can go so it can be a regular place. They don’t have to feel pressured by anything and they can get whatever help they can get.”
The space is set up like a lounge with cheerful green walls and cozy couches, reading material and resources, and of course the camaraderie of local veterans. Veterans from outside of Holly are welcome as well.
Service providers from various agencies will come to the center on scheduled days to meet with veterans.
A group of about 9 volunteers coordinated the effort Mishler said. The group wanted to find ways to help area vets, so they sent out a survey to vets in the area asking them what would be helpful to them. Over 250 people responded, and Mishler said that 95% of the surveys that came back saying they wanted a center.
The survey also demonstrated a need for classes, for help filling out paperwork, and a desire for better access to healthcare.
The center is for veterans of any era, and it is intentionally was set up in the community center and not at a Veteran’s Service Organization so that anyone can come and not feel pressured to join any group.
A proclamation signed by State Rep Joe Graves, State Senator David Robinson and Governor Rick Snyder stated, in part, “We are extremely proud of everyone who made this day possible. Whether a vet has just ended their service to American or whether their service ended a long time ago, veterans deserve the benefits for which they sacrificed so much to protect the freedom of Americans.
“Just because a person’s enlistment in the military ends does not mean the effects of serving in uniform ceases as well. Some need medical assistance the rest of their lives. Some are entitled to benefits for injuries that occurred while serving in the military. Others have earned the benefit of a college education or a low interest home in which to start their civilian lives. The Holly Area Veteran’s Association is dedicated to helping the men and women who gave up their rights and freedoms by enlisting in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard to defend the freedom of others.”
Aaron Porter, Legislative Director for Representative Graves, was one of the volunteers for the HAVRC. “I’ve been a legislative staffer for 2 ½ years and this has been probably the most satisfying, gratifying project that I’ve worked on since I became a legislative staffer,” Porter said.
The center is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9am to 3:30 pm. On the first Tuesday of each month service officers from the Oakland County Veteran’s Services will be on hand to help veterans by appointment. Appointments can be made by calling OCVS at 248-858-0785.
Each Wednesday there will be a VA Employment specialist on hand.
There is also yoga on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8pm.
For more info call Joe Mishler 810-348-9960 or Ray Pfenning 248-882-1406.
Holly Area Veterans Center Opens