WGVU teams up to support veterans

By Duane Emery | 5/29/14 11:34pm

Veterans are less than 1 percent of the country’s population.

A seemingly insignificant minority, until one looks at the numbers. There are approximately 34,000 veterans in Kent County alone -- 34,000 people meeting the challenges of everyday life, while also facing the unique challenges that come from serving one’s country.

It can be difficult for civilians to understand the trials veterans have to overcome, both in the civilian world and in their continuing service.

To combat this, WGVU is teaming up with PBS for the We Are Veterans campaign. This campaign will use informational television and radio programming, as well as online and community discussions, to raise awareness of veterans’ needs and highlight the impact of their service.

“It’s about connecting veterans with their communities and communities with veterans,” said Tim Eernisse, the development and marketing manager for WGVU. 

While the specifics of the campaign are still in the planning phase, Eernisse said it will focus on key areas that will “artfully and accurately describe and share what it means to be a veteran.” The campaign will cover an assortment of topics, including women veterans, continued education for veterans, employment, military families, homelessness and health.

“Health plays into every piece because it plays into employment, housing and being able to go to school,” Eernisse said.

From the oldest retirees to those still serving today, military life is difficult. Not only do veterans sacrifice their time, their safety and potentially their lives, but their families make those sacrifices as well.

The We Are Veterans campaign hopes to increase awareness so that, through community support, veterans’ lives can be improved.

“It is a multigenerational opportunity to have a discussion on an area that can have an impact on a larger scale,” Eernisse said.

The campaign will also focus on services for veterans. While there are many resources and benefits provided for veterans, many fail to use them, either because they do not know where to find them or even that they exist.

“That’s a huge issue that’s going on. You have a lot of service providers in schools and communities, but the navigation system, the point of entry for veterans has really been a problem,” said Steven Lipnicki, assistant dean of students at GVSU who is part of the campaign.

We Are Veterans is a national campaign and will provide informational programming to raise awareness of different benefits that veterans have earned through their service. Its purpose is to improve the lives of veterans by tailoring content for local communities to focus on their most pressing issues.

For more information on the programming lineup, go to www.wgvu.org.

For more information on the mission and goals of the campaign, visit www.weareveterans.org.


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