Over 8,500 veterans live in the city of Missoula. That’s close to 10% of the city’s population. It’s also estimated that there are over 1,000 veteran-owned businesses in Missoula. The County does budget and provide services for veterans around the area but the City does not. I’d like Missoula to be able to provide some simple services for those who have served our nation. I hear people say, “I want to support the troops,” or “How can I help veterans?” and Missoula should have some options to help.
A couple of ideas come to mind to support veterans in our city. Many cities have a City and Veteran Networking Group. This would provide a way for veterans to meet other people around Missoula and form civilian connections and friendships. This way, civilians gain a new perspective and can directly support veterans as individuals rather as an entity. Different activities could include service projects, visiting with veterans in retirement communities or nursing homes, and touring local businesses
I also believe it would be valuable for the City to create a Veterans Liaison. I envision they would meet with the City at least once a month to discuss veterans’ issues in the community. I would also like to include the UM VETS office director in conversations so as to see how Missoula can serve student veterans.