OKLAHOMA CITY – Community members are working together to help veterans and military families get the benefits they deserve.
The Oklahoma City Mayor’s Veteran Support Coalition will host a series of resource fairs for service members, veterans and military families on the third Friday of each month from Sept. 20 through March of 2020.
The OKC Military & Veterans Resource Fair will have numerous services on-site for former and current service members in the armed forces and National Guard.
The first event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 20, is free and will feature a variety of veterans’ groups from around the state. The resource fair will be held in rooms 114 and 123 of the Metro Technology Center Economic Development Center, located at 1700 Springlake Dr.
“OKC’s military community and our veterans are an essential part of our city’s fabric,” said Mayor David Holt. “I’m grateful for the work that the Mayor’s Veteran Support Coalition has done and continues to do to help bring resources directly to some of the bravest people in our community. I encourage everyone to support this resource fair and spread the word, especially to our veterans.”
Officials say the coalition was created from a challenge by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to lower suicide rates by veterans. The suicide rate among veterans in Oklahoma, like the rate among veterans nationwide, is much higher than the overall national suicide rate, according to 2016 data from the agency.
“The purpose of coalition, gathered with numerous community experts on veteran affairs and mental health, is to support veterans and military families in our Oklahoma City communities,” said J.D. Baker, Special Assistant to Mayor Holt and the coalition’s co-leader, “We have found that the missing link, when it comes to preventing risks of mental illness, is connectedness. Through the resource fair, we are connecting these families to educational coaches and opportunities, the state and federal veteran affairs agencies, local advocacy groups, healthcare providers, recreation sport leaders and much more, so they know that their presence in our community is valued and we all are here to help and support them.”