Estimates vary, but the Greater Houston is home to between 250,000 to 270,000 Texas veterans. The number is growing because, according to Congressman Ted Poe, one out of ten active duty military is from Texas and many of these will likely retire in Texas.
There are several Houston area military support groups, but according to Lt Colonel Chuck Bagnato of the Lone Star Veterans Association (LSVA), all these groups should be in one building for a “one-stop-venue.” There is a need for a Combined Arms veteran’s support 15,000 to 20,000 sq. foot building within the Loop. Suggestions for such a building can be made by contacting the LSVA and Colonel Bagnato at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lone Star Veterans Association (LSVA) has three missions which provide free services for Texas veterans: Career Transition, Life Navigation, and Camaraderie.
- Career Transition prepares the veterans in career coaching, resume development, professional networking, and job placement. LSVA provide classes that provide interview skills, resume writing, salary negotiation, and preparation for the civilian workplace. LSVA has partnered with over 300 companies which regularly attend and participate in the Warrior for Life networking luncheons. There are two networking luncheons monthly, one in Harris County and one in Montgomery County. For details check www.lonestarveterans. org.
- The Life Navigator (LifeNav) program empowers veterans who have made the successful transition to civilian life to volunteer their time and talent to mentor a veteran who is having challenges in the reintegration process. This program has been especially helpful to veterans and family members who are transitioning to a new career or who may need help in developing responsible relationships with co-workers and family members. Once identified, experts train our Navigators before being paired with a veteran mentee. The Navigator then assists the veteran in establishing a support system and connecting to important resources that will aid them in their transition. LSVA has also partnered with other organizations that provide therapy for transitioning veterans. The therapy programs include equine therapy, hunting, fishing, yoga, and gym membership.
- The Camaraderie Program hosts socials, bowling teams, volleyball teams, soccer teams, softball teams, dragon boat races, and other positive sporting events. LSVA hosts other family support events as well such as picnics and other social events that provide a venue for veterans and their families to develop positive external relationships and accelerate their transition and reintegration.
More information about the LSVA is available via its website.