Veteran support system serves as resource hub for vets
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - For Amanda Marr, the military was a centerpiece of her life, as both she and her husband served in the armed forces.
Marr was working in the U.S. Army as a combat medic when her life quickly shifted paths in 2009 when her husband died in action while serving in Afghanistan.
“There I was, abruptly becoming a civilian,” Marr said. “Like a lot of Veterans their first couple years of transition, things were rough.”
Marr left the Army in 2010 and like many veterans, she said she felt lost.
“I had moments that I questioned whether I ever would fit into my home community again,” Marr said.
After leaving the service, Marr returned to school and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, but her search to help others who shared her similar story continued.
“I really wanted to be there for those who that up in a similar place, moving forward — which is why I ultimately took this job — to develop this local program,” Marr said.
Marr is currently the community program lead for the Alaska Warrior Partnership, founded a year ago in Alaska. The program acts as a resource hub for veterans, a supportive network that Marr wishes she had when she left the service. The program, Marr said, supports veterans in ways that the VA and the state cannot.
“Say a veteran ... their car breaks down and they may not have the funding to cover that,” Marr said. “Instead of just writing them a check and saying, ‘Hey, get your car fixed,’ it might be that we reach out to a local auto mechanic and try to convince them that the veteran in their community needs help and then paired with that the veteran can also apply for emergency assistance.”
It’s all part of the mission to connect veterans to services and support them. This is a critical need, Marr said, especially when looking at the suicide rate seen in Alaska and the U.S. As recently as 2018, the VA reported that 17.6 veterans committed suicide a day.
The state of Alaska has also been seeing an increase in active duty member suicides. Marr said the program is critical in showing veterans that they are not alone and showing them the services that are in their community that can help them.
“There are so many individuals and businesses in Alaska that care about our vets but the vets aren’t finding them and they are not finding the vets,” Marr said.
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