Oregon’s Veteran Service Offices
Josephine County’s VSO
Oregon’s county-based VSO’s help connect veterans with a wide range of earned benefits. But they also create many outside-the-box programs to connect veterans with each other and their community. Josephine County’s music outreach program is a perfect example of how VSOs tailor programs to meet local veterans’ need.
VSOs: Connecting Veterans to Their Earned Benefits
According to the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 70% of Oregon’s veterans do not take advantage of their earned veteran benefits. One of the roles of the county-based Veteran Service Offices (VSOs) is to help connect veterans that qualify for programs to assist with education, housing, career development, pensions and more.
..and Helping Them Make Connections
But beyond this core mission, VSOs create programs on a local level to help connect veterans to their communities. Josephine County’s innovative music outreach program is just one example. According to Lisa Pickart, Josephine County Director of Veteran Service, “What I try to do is build programs that will allow veterans to reconnect to other veterans, to something that they love to do, some passion that they have. They can start reintegrating effectively then you’re building strong veterans, then you’re building strong families, then you’re building strong communities.”
According to Vietnam veteran William Conidi (pictured above, left), meeting and playing music with fellow veterans has made a difference in his life. “Being able to get onstage and play was something that helped me come out of myself and come out of the dark places I had been in.”
Lottery Funding Helps Make it Possible
Since voters directed Oregon Lottery funds to support veteran services in 2016, the ODVA has been able to direct funds to county-based VSOs and other important veteran programs. In 2019, Josephine County’s VSO received over $128,000 to help connect veterans to benefits and create innovative outreach programs.
The look on veterans’ faces when their life is changed because of our work — that is where I find success.— Lisa Pickart, Direct of Veteran Service, Josephine County
Veterans Making Connections
VSOs Make Differences in the Lives of Oregon Veterans
Watch the video to visit Josephine County’s VSO and learn more about how VSOs assist veterans across the state.
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