Offers Help, Hope for Veterans and their Families
The Cherokee Veterans Community ministry (CVC), is the military ministry at First Baptist Church Woodstock and is one of several military-type groups serving Cherokee County veterans, alongside the American Legion, VFW post, Marine Corps League and the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program.
The CVC’s mission is to provide support in unique ways through monthly support groups, veteran and non-veteran education, and community outreach. The community involvement has helped grow the ministry to where it is today. And the ministry continues to develop new initiatives for the new year.
The male support group has grown from four to five attendees weekly two years ago, to 12-15 veterans each week. Our female component to the ministry “Help on the Homefront” includes female veterans, spouses of veterans, moms of military members, and other females who have the heart to serve those who have served us with honor.
Currently, meetings are held on the first, third and fifth Thursdays each month with approximately 50-60 men and women involved, and averaging 18-25 each meeting night. These meetings are held at First Baptist Church Woodstock Building “A” in room A260 and A264 starting at 6:30 pm.
This type of support offers a wide range of benefits to everyone involved. We have a strong female leader in Tina Sosebee, who is a Blue Star mom with a veteran son and a son now serving in the military. Tina’s missions are many, however, some are to educate the group in areas of PTSD and the struggles and challenges that can bring to the family. Tina also brings in experts from around the metro area to accomplish her goal. Other topics include education on VA benefits and how to deal with having a son or daughter who serves.
Local, Global Outreach
On the global front, our group sends out WeCareBoxes to active-duty military members around the world. The WeCareBoxes are filled with personal hygiene and comfort items, as well as letters and cards of gratitude and support. They have touched more than 400 of our military members serving around the world since it began eight months ago.
Community businesses, civic groups, churches, and individuals have rallied around this program. And because of their generosity, we have only had to pay for shipping the 50 WeCareBoxes we send every other month.
Cherokee Veterans Community also has a BattleBuddiesAtHome and CoffeeWithVeterans mission and has started this year with our RAVE Scholarship, Rallying Around Veteran Education to serve up to 10 veterans enrolled at Chattahoochee Technical College.
National, Local Veteran Numbers
Nationally, the veteran population includes 18.8 million men and women who have served in active duty, with more than 641,267 veterans in Georgia, according to the U.S. Census. For more Census stats, visit www2.census.gov/library/visualizations/2015/comm/vets/ga-vets.pdf.
Cherokee County Georgia has one of the largest populations of veterans in Georgia – nearly 14,000 – according to the U.S. Census (www.census.gov/quickfacts/cherokeecountygeorgia), but unfortunately Cherokee County also has the third or fourth highest population in the state for homeless veterans according to the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program. This fact makes a clear and present picture of the need for support to those who have selflessly served us with their honorable military service.
Our mission is simple: to serve those who are serving now or served us in the past with honor, including their families. We are open to all military members past or present, family members and anyone that has the heart to serve. I believe our motto clearly sums up our mission: “We are Standing Strong Shoulder to Shoulder, and we are Stronger Standing Together than when we are standing alone.” It continues with, “You used to be surrounded by people you trusted with your life … YOU STILL ARE.”
By David Snyder, director of the Cherokee Veterans Community ministry and a United States Marine Corps veteran.