By Contributing Editor Blair Drake
For more than three years, the Falcons Landing (Va.) Chapter has been working with a local church to provide support to veterans in need. Called Loudoun Veterans and Family Support (LVFS), this partnership between the chapter and Community Lutheran Church in Sterling, Va., provides financial assistance to veterans and their families for rent, medical bills, home repairs, transportation, and other needs.
When LVFS first started, initial funds came from generous members of the chapter and church and were used to help a handful of veterans identified by Loudoun County Family Services who were facing problems not necessarily covered by formal veterans assistance programs.
However, the needs of veterans in the county began to increase in volume and complexity, so the organization looked for additional sources of funds.
In 2017, the Falcons Landing Chapter received a Community Outreach Grant from The MOAA Foundation to support LVFS.
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To date, the chapter has provided LVFS with over $44,000 ($37,800 from donations and $6,200 in grants). In 2019, LVFS assisted more than 30 veterans with over $17,000.
“What started as a small activity to help veterans has since become a significant contributor to the needs of veterans in Loudoun County,” said Col. Howard Schue, USAF (Ret), chapter LVFS coordinator.
LVFS receives support from other veterans’ organizations such as the VFW and American Legion.
“This collaboration of veteran support organizations is skillfully orchestrated by the veterans services coordinator in the Loudoun County Family Services Office in Leesburg,” said Schue.
He shared the thank-you the organization received from a medically retired Army staff sergeant who LVFS helped when she was six months pregnant and in need of a winter coat. LVFS not only worked with a local maternity shop to get the veteran a coat but also used additional funds to purchase clothing to get the veteran and her newborn through the winter months.
The thank-you read: “I am a wounded warrior and served with the Army for over 10 years. I recently moved to Virginia due to personal hardships and did not have the resources to purchase a coat. I was fortunate to be introduced to [LVFS staff] by [the case officer] when I was in a time of need, and the kindness I have been showed has been both humbling and an honor to receive.”
For the Falcons Landing Chapter and its LVFS partnership, “this was validation of our work with the Loudoun County, Va., veterans population,” Schue said.
Blair Drake is a contributing editor for MOAA and lives in Souderton, Pa. She previously served on the editorial team of Military Officer magazine for nine years.
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