Commander of American Legion Post 1980
The Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs administers an outstanding program of financial assistance available to veterans and their families, known as the Veteran’s Trust Fund and the Veteran’s Assistance Grant. This grant is awarded to organizations throughout Colorado rather than individuals.
The organizations, in turn, using community outreach and local knowledge respond to those in need. The Veteran’s Trust Fund provides another safety net for our veterans, their families and their widows. Those of you who know veterans know they are a proud demographic who are generally always serving others. They are often reluctant to ask for help for themselves. This is particularly the case of our older veterans in Teller County who often live alone without burdening any other organization. Veterans taking care of veterans and their families.
For the last few years, American Legion Post 1980 and their families in our communities. In the past, any money we were able to help veterans with was raised solely by the American Legion and our families through fundraisers. We have always given scholarships to deserving students, supported the food pantry and a host of other civic programs in need of money.
The VTF grant is truly a “combat multiplier” that has allowed us to continue supporting our traditional programs fully with internal funds while allowing us to greatly increase our ability to help individual veterans and families financially.
Although the American Legion is the grant recipient, once a need is identified, an interview confidentially conducted and receipts collected, a team immediately focuses on the request to make a decision.
The Commander of the VFW, Andy Tyler, the Teller County Veteran’s Service Officer, Mike Bartol, Kim Mauthe the Teller County Department of Human Service director and Mary Longmire also with DHS, all participate on the board for approval.
Once a decision is rendered, the veteran is not given the money directly but the bill or receipts presented are paid directly to the vendor or organization. Typical requests in the past few years include car repair, utility bills, broken heaters or water heaters, mortgage or rent payments.
In most cases, they do not get repeat requests from the same veteran. Bad things sometimes happen to good people and they can get quickly overwhelmed with the financial part of a crisis.
That’s when we step in with the VTF grant. Once the crisis has been addressed, Bartol will often review the veteran’s benefit package or any entitlements to see if they have in fact been coming to the veterans. There have been several cases of veterans, and the widows of veterans, in crisis because they were not receiving all of their benefits. We are grateful to the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs for this grant and our ability to help those in need throughout Teller County.
If you know a veteran, their family or a veteran’s widow in need contact the American Legion, Post 1980 and our collective team will try and solve the problem.