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Huntsville organizations honor and provide resources to local Veterans

'Bearded Warriors', 'Still Serving Veterans', and the 'U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum' all work to be a resource and honor Veterans.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — We're taking a look at some of the organizations who honor and serve Veterans living in North Alabama as part of FOX54's Honoring Veterans week. 

When those in the military leave service, it can be difficult transitioning back to civilian life.

Organizations in North Alabama want to support and honor Veterans by getting them the resources they need.

We're spotlighting Bearded Warriors, Still Serving Veterans and the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum.

Ty Oswald founded Bearded Warriors nine years ago, "it's a Veteran suicide prevention nonprofit here in town to try to help reengage veterans and their family members back into the community through community service and volunteering."

Bearded Warriors hosts gatherings for both active duty service members and Veterans.

These events give service members the opportunity to discuss their mental health and stressors, something that Oswald wished for when he returned from combat.

"For my own journey of trying to find mental health resources, when I left the military between 2006 and 2009 and then just found a bunch of roadblocks or kind of dead ends or just services that weren't really geared towards Afghanistan and Iraq vets…After several months of how come nobody's really getting any veterans or family members together so that they can be around like minded and experienced people. They went from 'why hasn't anybody else to why don't I.' 

Oswald adds, "anybody wants to know that somebody is there for them or cares about them or wants to help them."

Still Serving Veterans is dedicated toward serving Veterans with free career counseling.

Dave Lakin, the Veteran Career and Transition Services Program Manager says, "we work with veterans every day to help them to find employment more quickly than they generally have been finding on their own coming out of the service." 

He and the other counselors are all veterans, "we help them to have a great resumé that resonates well with recruiters and speaks to the jobs that they're applying for specifically. We teach them about different kinds of resumes, and then once we get the resume put together, …when they get job offers, they bring them back to us and we help them with salary negotiation. And the whole getting a job, we want to take the stress off of them."

SSV has two office locations, one in Huntsville and one in Phenix City. Veterans looking for career services can connect through their website, LinkedIn, Zoom, or in the office.

"Zoom is great because it allows us to become what will be your interview environment if you are interviewing remotely, so anywhere where there's internet, we're happy to work. COVID has enabled us to work, about 60% of our clients come outside of the southeast region now."

And a place to honor the history of all Veterans is right here in Huntsville.

The U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum on Airport Road near John Hunt Park holds war memorabilia, weapons and vehicles.

Randy Withrow is the Director of the museum, "we have things from a revolution all the way up to today. So we're proud to say that we're an elephant in a matchbox because we do try to encompass all of our Veterans history here."

The nonprofit all started when Withrow began collecting war items with his dad and later forming a museum.

"It remains a permanent facility, if you will. And then because we are a nonprofit, we've been able to get a few things in here that are on loan from the Army. We were able to do that because normally you can't have a Cobra Attack Helicopter, but we have one here."

Visitors can experience history and learn more about our Country's Veterans, "there's a connection for people to learn and understand what our Veterans have done for them. That's the important thing, is the contributions and the sacrifices made by our Veterans. That's what we're trying to portray here. We're trying to honor them, trying to educate the public, and we're trying to support other Veterans' activities."

Thank you Bearded Warriors, Still Serving Veterans, and the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum for honoring and supporting those who served.

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