Local program for older veterans gets $68,000 grant
The PATH Foundation has awarded a $68,000 grant to Hero’s Bridge, a Fauquier based non-profit that specializes in meeting the needs of older veterans.
The grant supports the organization’s Battle Buddy Program, which pairs younger veterans and other vet-focused volunteers with older veterans in need. Battle Buddies perform a basic screening that includes a needs assessment and quality of life scoring. Over a period of 12 months, Battle Buddies work to “bridge” these elderly veterans to benefits and services that ultimately improve their quality of life score.
The grant provides for the hiring of Janelle Davenport as Battle Buddy Coordinator to focus on recruiting, training and directing volunteers. Ms. Davenport, a nurse with a strong background working with the elderly, comes from a military family.
Debbie Eisele, who has more than 20 years of writing, outreach and communications experience, also will join the program. Ms. Eisele will share the stories of the Battle Buddy program with the community. She also will oversee a complete renovation of the Hero’s Bridge website and outreach materials to better engage the community, volunteers and veterans in need.
The PATH grant also funds special training of Battle Buddies in the Community Health Worker model of care. It uses the premise that a certain population may be better served health workers come from the same community or culture. The Institute for Public Health Innovation will provide consulting services to integrate this vet-to-vet model of care.
“The bond between veterans crosses all generations, war periods and branches of service,” said David Benhoff, Hero’s Bridge co-founder and board member. “We are so excited to strengthen this groundbreaking program, which we believe greatly benefits both groups of veterans.”
Co-founder and President Molly Brooks added: “The PATH Foundation has been so supportive with training and resources since our inception two years ago. We are most grateful for their financial support of this very special program.”
PATH President Christy Connolly said: “We’ve been considering ways to help our communities through community health workers, and the Hero’s Bridge Battle Buddy Program aligns well with initiatives we’ve researched. They are to be applauded for their innovation in helping veterans in our area.”