It has been a most interesting second year as president and Board chair for the Carroll County Veterans Independence Project (CCVIP), with many ups and downs which I'll get into a bit later. What strikes me the most is the people that I and my board members have come in contact with these past two years who want to help with this initiative, who have passion for this effort.
They come from all walks of life and backgrounds. Elected officials, business owners, members of other nonprofits, county government employees, veterans, retirees with diverse backgrounds, volunteers, individuals involved with the faith-based community and everyday people who want to help. This past year we have had great success with our car show and annual gala event. Additionally, we have had similar success with other organizations and veterans organizations sponsoring events towards our goal of establishing a veterans service center here in Westminster.
But they all have one thing in common — a faith, a belief, a drive, to help those members of our community who have served our country regardless of when and where our military has been deployed: World War II, Korea, Laotian Civil War (1953), Lebanon Crisis (1958), Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961), Dominican Intervention (1965), Vietnam, Communist Insurgency in Thailand, Grenada, Beirut, Libya, Panama, Persian Gulf, Somalia, Haiti, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Philippines, Iraq, Syrian and Iraqi Intervention, Libyan Intervention, plus supporting disaster relief efforts home and abroad. Sadly there are many other US military operations too numerous to mention here.
CCVIP's main purpose is to serve our veterans and their families in numerous ways by prioritizing, linking, and utilizing the various county-wide health, educational, job training, and human services networks.
We and our county government partners had attempted to obtain the former US Army Reserve Center (buildings and property) located on Malcolm Drive in Westminster, to use as a base of operations. Unfortunately, after several formal applications, follow-up correspondence and personal attempts to convince our Federal colleagues of our need and abilities, our final application was denied.
With that behind us, CCVIP is now in search of suitable location/property within the greater Westminster city area to establish our base of operations. We are in the process of working with a broker to move our initiative forward. We are acutely aware of the additional challenge of competition for scarce resources/dollars.
We have seen the decline in funding and the increase in those in need of our services. CCVIP does not wish to draw resources away from other community nonprofits but to include them in our efforts. We want to minimize duplication of efforts and utilize a holistic approach in assisting our veterans and their families by linking with all our community partners both groups and individuals.
In doing our research on the “nonprofit hub,” CCVIP embraces their mantra to embrace technology, stay on top of social media, be a “fiscal hawk,” conduct aggressive fundraising (get total community, local, state and federal government, additional involvement with public and private corporations, grants, foundations, etc.), ensure our board members are actively engaged in the community, and lastly don't bite off more than we can chew.
Please visit our website at www.carrollcountyvip.org for information.
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Frank A. Valenti is the president and Board chair of the Carroll County Veterans Independence Project.