Submitted by the Falcons Landing (Va.) Chapter
When a disabled career combat veteran who suffered from PTSD was in need of assistance, the Falcons Landing (Va.) Chapter was there to help thanks to its local partnership called Loudoun Veterans and Family Support (LVFS).
The veteran’s service dog had been killed in a freak accident, causing the veteran and his family to slip backward in their recovery. Agencies that had provided the veteran with the original dog began working to quickly raise the $16,000 needed to purchase and train a new service dog. LVFS support was desperately requested.
LVFS responded by donating $10,000, with other groups donating the remaining $6,000.
“We were almost immediately able to fully pay for the purchase of the new service dog, its training, its equipment, and the veteran’s training as the dog’s new handler,” said Col. Howard Schue, USAF (Ret), chapter LVFS coordinator. “This speedy process really helped the veteran. Knowing he was quickly getting another service dog really carried him and his family through this time of turmoil, and they are now doing well.”
LVFS was started in 2016, a partnership between the Falcons Landing Chapter and Community Lutheran Church in Sterling, Va., to provide immediate support and financial aid to Loudoun County veterans and their families who are suffering immediate hardship or financial difficulties. The chapter raises money — typically between $8,000 and $12,000 a year — to give to LVFS for this assistance through a portion of their dues, donations from chapter members, special events, and grants. Community Lutheran Church also donates from its own resources.
According to Schue, veterans and their family members with a financial or other urgent need — such as avoiding eviction, foreclosure, or a cutoff of utility service or an automobile repair — contact Loudon County’s veterans service officer, who then verifies veteran’s status and need. The veterans service officer then emails local veterans service organizations (VSOs), including LVFS, asking who can provide support. The VSOs then pool their resources, and the lead VSO sends a check for the full assistance amount directly to the entity holding the debt for which the veteran has requested assistance.
“Our chapter believes this model of support might be valuable for others to implement to assist needy veterans in their local areas,” said Schue.