The versatility of the Military Veteran Peer Network (MVPN) is being shown in Granbury as MVPN is part of wheelchair ramp building for veterans’ homes. The ramp building is in addition to the Granbury area Pecan Valley MVPN’s ongoing support for mental wellness and general assistance to over 100 veterans.
The multi-organization wheelchair ramp building effort includes local VFW and American Legion volunteers, DAV Chapter 238, funding for materials from the Military Officers Association (MOAA), Contractor Jim Elliott and Home Depot. “They (Home Depot) worked out a deal so that their employees get their community service hours each month for a year,” explained Zachary Crawford, MVPN Peer Service Coordinator. Crawford served in the Army as a Combat Engineer, experience he now applies to improving veteran’s access to their homes.
In further improvement to veteran home access, the group is removing old, dilapidated steps to doorways and installing new steps, complete with handrails.
The ramps and stairs are a step beyond MVPN’s usual services to enhance the quality of life for Texas Veterans. Primarily, MVPN provides services including direct peer-to-peer support, training on suicide prevention and military cultural competency, coordination of mental health first aid, and warm-handoffs to local resources based on the individual needs of the veteran and their family.
Pecan Valley MVPN has 46 veterans involved in peer-to-peer meetings, either in groups or one-to-one. “Also, we are providing substance abuse counseling, marriage counseling and adolescent counseling. Currently, we have one peer group that meets twice a month and they are working on PTSD,” said Crawford, pictured. “We also have CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) with two of our LPCs (Licensed Professional Counselors).”
In providing assistance with local resources and services, Pecan Valley MVPN has assisted veterans with getting utilities back on, car repairs and preventing them from being evicted from their homes. “This was done by Sabrina Long of my MVPN group,” said Crawford. “She’s also referred veterans to resources for employment, benefits and other financial resources. It made the difference for a veteran who was homeless and now has a job and a place to live.” Pecan Valley has provided this sort of general assistance to approximately 70 veterans since September 2021.
Connect with the MVPN near you at https://www.milvetpeer.net/page/custompage_map .
MVPN members are Texas Veteran Commission (TVC) Certified Peer Service Coordinators and peer volunteers are strategically placed within the local mental health authorities across Texas to create a statewide peer-to-peer network for any service member, veteran or family member. TVC provides MVPN with training in mental wellness counseling.