Veteran Outreach Program receives $2,500 grant
A new program assisting local veterans recently received some very exciting news. The Veterans Outreach Program (VOP), organized and operated by Cully Parr and Dan Morthland, was awarded grant funds to assist in their mission.
Areawide Media learned about VOP in late September when local veteran Bill Strauss called Editor Kim Break and invited her to his home to take photos of work being done outside. Parr, Morthland and fellow veteran Seth Lewis, were busy making repairs and updates to make Strauss’ property safer. As a 101-year-old resident still living independently, there are certain jobs Strauss isn’t able to take on, so he was extremely grateful for the three men from a younger generation of veterans.
In the November special section, Honoring Our Veterans, an article was done to explain how VOP came to be in Fulton County. At that time, the group was still working on becoming a 501c3. Although that still hasn’t happened yet, it is something Morthland is working on.
In the meantime, Parr, Morthland and Lewis joined the Mountain Home Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Organization, and are now operating VOP under the DAV, which has definitely come with benefits. The first grant received was for office supplies. Parr said they were able to purchase a laptop, printer and other office supplies, which are set up at the Salem VFW.
VOP was also awarded a grant through the COVID-19 Cares Act funding, in the amount of $2,500 to help food supply for veterans. “We are coordinating with the NCA Food Bank to see about getting the food ordered through them and what types of foods they have available for veterans,” explained Parr.
The grant funds are a huge help to VOP as one of the biggest challenges of starting something new is funding.
Parr has also been busy making connections with veterans from surrounding counties. For example, Parr got in touch with Cherokee Village veteran, Billie Suiters (also featured in Honoring Our Veterans), and she is helping him find veterans who are in need of assistance as well.
VOP’s goal is to help as many veterans, family members of veterans and veteran widows, as they possibly can. Currently, VOP has helped, or will help, 84 individuals. Parr said the goal is to help 200 veterans, if not more. The organization isn’t restricted to Fulton County residents. If you, or a veteran you know, is in need of assistance in general area, do not hesitate to reach out for help.
“If someone is in need of help, we try to get details over the phone of what they need. From there, we schedule a date and time for when we can come out to the residence that they need help at, so we can do a walk around,” explained Parr. Examples of work the group has done so far include: Burning, raking and hauling leaves; cutting and/or hauling firewood; trimming trees and pressure washing.
Another exciting piece of the puzzle for the Veterans Outreach Program is a recently launched Facebook page. Though not everyone has internet access or even a Facebook account, it is a great way to get the word out about the program. Veterans Outreach Program – Fulton County is the name of the page and within 24 hours of “going live”, a request for assistance had already come in.
As word spreads about the good work and amazing mission of VOP, the volunteer load will increase and Parr, Morthland and Lewis would love to add a few fellow veterans to their team. As the program grows, it is hopeful those who are involved also grows.
To learn more about how to get involved, request assistance or know someone who needs assistance, contact Parr at 870-919-7352, Morthland at 850-851-8038 or send a message via Facebook. If you would like to make a monetary donation to VOP, the opportunity to do so is available by reaching out to Parr.