Closing the veteran gap in the Grand Canyon state
By MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and Transition
ARLINGTON, Va. - Former Air Force officer turned Army Wounded Warrior Program Advocate Michael Dow has helped two important veteran organizations in Arizona last week begin to work together. As a member of both the Arizona Coalition for Military Families and Tucson Veterans Serving Veterans organizations, Dow sees how both benefit veterans and Soldiers in transition. 'I saw I had a unique position of having a really good relationship with both leaders and thought that maybe I could bring both groups together to move forward,' Dow said.
The two organizations met in late-August with the Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, U.S. Air Force retired Col. Wanda Wright who oversaw the meeting. The effort proved successful as the organizations came up with a way to move forward with concrete steps of collaboration.
Cliff Wade, chairman of the Tucson Veterans Serving Veterans saw the meeting as a win for all. 'With the collaboration of this meeting we will be able to open more community doors for our veterans and service members alike,' Wade said.
Dow says the entire veteran community will benefit from the collaboration, especially transitioning service members. 'One way veterans will benefit will be through greater awareness of the program Be Connected that helps veterans in Arizona connect to community resources to help them resolve issues as they transition into civilian life. Another direct benefit will come with the possible expansion of the Tucson organization which provides direct and immediate financial assistance for veterans in hardship,' said Dow.
As an AW2 Advocate, Dow gets to help AW2 Soldiers preparing to transition into civilian life by connecting them with the resources available to them. His work is a reward he considers to be priceless.
'The thank you that I receive from my clients brings me the satisfaction that I am succeeding at my job. As I graduate clients from the program who have completed their transition back into civilian life, I am regularly told of how important my impact on their lives has been. I am sure I will always look back on my time in with AW2 with gratefulness that I have been a part of this great organization with a great mission and great leaders.'