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More than four days after a Malaysian jetliner went missing on route to Beijing, authorities acknowledged Wednesday they didn't know in which direction the plane and its 239 passengers was heading when it disappeared,...More >>
It started out as just a favor for a friend. A veteran needed help finding his way in the Queen City after serving overseas. That was two years and more than two hundred families ago.
Now, the non-profit organization Charlotte Bridge Home is expecting an influx of new clients. One agency predicts 4,000 to 6,000 veterans will relocate to the Queen City area this year.
Charlotte Bridge was founded by local developer Tommy Norman as a way to connect returning veterans and their families with resources in the community.
Lead social worker Sara Milbourne notes that a search of services can return thousands of results. "It can spin your head a little bit," Milbourne said. She should know. Milbourne has been through it herself. She is prior active duty army and married a disabled vet who put in 13 years of active duty.
"I understand what the struggles are..what the challenges are and I know what it means to be a veteran and I know what it means to need assistance and only want to talk to someone who understands where you've been and what you've done," Milbourne said.
In fact, most in the Charlotte Bridge office is connected to the military in some aspect.
While the organization is clear it can't help every veteran, it is able to connect many service men and women with agencies that provide job and education counseling, housing opportunities, and help acquiring benefits. It can be a one-stop shop connecting the dots for veterans confused over how best to transition back into civilian life.
During a recent visit from Senator Kay Hagan, the organization was praised for its commitment to veteran affairs. "So many of us in North Carolina, including myself, come from proud military families," Hagan said in a release. "We know that our courageous service members and families face many challenges when transitioning into civilian life. Charlotte Bridge Home is doing incredible work at the community level to ease that transition, and it is a model that can be replicated across the state and across the country as more of our servicemen and women return home. Our veterans put their lives on hold to serve our nation, and I am committed to working with officials at the local, state and federal levels to ensure veterans have the resources they need to be successful in their new communities."
Milbourne notes that Charlotte is making a name for itself by the way its stepping up to the plate to help veterans. She notes Charlotte Bridge Home continues to figure out how best to serve this segment of the population and build more connections.