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Alaska Warrior Partnership forms to connect veterans with support services

Courtesy of Alaska Warrior Partnership

Alaska has the highest rate of veterans per capita of any state in the country.

For a while, the organization that coordinated support services for Alaska veterans was the Alaska Coalition for Veterans and Military Families.

But the coalition has disbanded. Now, there’s a new organization filling that gap — the Alaska Warrior Partnership. 

The partnership is a program under the America’s Warrior Partnership. It’s starting up this fall.

Amanda Marr is its community program lead. She said she hopes to work with individual communities to figure out where the gaps are when it comes to connecting veterans with support services.

Amanda Marr: By collaborating with other service providers and continuing engagement long-term with warriors that we support, we're improving quality of life, which is a huge priority to our program. Because at the end of the day, that can ultimately decrease the risk of warrior suicide and some of the negative impacts to communities when the need is not met.

Essentially, what we hope for is that Alaska Warriors Partnership is a force multiplier that unifies community resources and efforts to ensure that veterans who live here in Alaska have every opportunity for success, and that it leads to communities that are more connected and thriving in order to help the veterans of Alaska.

KDLL: Alaska is, of course, a huge state with so many different types of communities. Do you plan on having local liaisons in each community?

AM: Our staff is currently based in Palmer, Alaska, but working remotely throughout the state. And this mobility allows us to outreach in all directions over our large geographical area, so that a veteran in Aniak can be every bit as important and connected as a veteran in Anchorage. So we hope to have an increase in team size to meet the needs. But generally, it'll be remote work.

KDLL: You're a veteran yourself. How does that inform the work that you do?

AM: As an Army veteran, born and raised in Alaska, this program is very near and dear to my heart — to be able to have the opportunity to serve fellow warriors in my home community through Alaska Warrior Partnership. And I'm ultimately just really excited to be able to lead this program into something impactful and far reaching, but local to where my children are growing up, local to where brothers and sisters in arms have returned and are transitioning into civilian life. So there's something to be said for the passion and integration for my own home community because it benefits me, too. It benefits everyone around us to be able to empower veterans and connect communities to these resources.

KDLL: For folks who are listening who are veterans, what would you like them to know about how they can connect with the Alaska Warrior Partnership? 

AM: Some of the local community resource partners meeting the needs of veterans range from VA benefits to employment to mental health support, volunteering and family events. So it's not just veterans in high need, it can be veterans that are doing well, that just would benefit from a long-term relationship to help continue to thrive.

And so some people might think that you wouldn't contact an organization like ours unless you were in need. But that's not the case.

So if you're a veteran, or a caregiver, or a family member of a warrior in Alaska, you can contact us through our webpage or you can call the resource line at 907-312-7229.

And I assure you, these are local resources. But they also have the backing of a rich network of nationwide resources, as well. 

Sabine Poux is a producer and reporter for the Brave Little State podcast of Vermont Public. She was formerly news director and evening news host at KDLL in Kenai.

Originally from New York, Sabine has lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont and Kenai.
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