Helping Heroes Wants To Help Veterans In Wetzel County
Jazmine Domonski, Outreach Specialist of Helping Heroes, Inc., visited the Wetzel County Commission on Aug. 6 with information concerning her organization, which helps homeless veterans.
“Right now we are getting our information out, because a lot of people don’t know about us,” she stated. “Our managers are both veterans, and a lot of veterans come back from war and may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or some sort of barrier. They get bad luck, and it snowballs. We just want to help them get back on their feet.”
Domonski further stated that Helping Heroes also has buildings for people to move into. She stated that the organization also has group therapy every Thursday in Wheeling, “Since that’s part of another county we are a part of.” Furthermore, Helping Heroes also offers legal aid service.
According to Helping Heroes’ website, accessible at www.helpingheroesinc.org, the primary goal of the organization is “to assist veterans with the process of reintegration into society as men and women who currently feel excluded from the benefits of productivity and self-sufficiency as a result of the physical and emotional wounds they carry.”
Helping Heroes also provides assistance and guidance for veteran benefits, as well as provide local and VA referrals necessary to assist veterans and their needs. A few of the services provided include: financial assistance to those who qualify, computer education classes, benefits assistance, interviewing skills, referrals to other agencies when needed, substance free, transitional housing to those in need, life skills courses, periodic stand-downs, case management, and legal aid. Domonski noted that Helping Heroes has made a lot of progress in Moundsville. “They hope to continuously expand, and they have another side of the building they are working on. The goal eventually is to make it a coffee shop and have a computer system. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t know how to make resumes.
“We had a woman offer to do computer classes for us. We hope to help veterans with that. I also talked to Army Reserve and there’s a program to help prep them for interviews and train them with those types of skills.”
Domonski added that Helping Heroes also works with Workforce. “We place a lot of them with pipelines, and have been able to get them a job there. It is decent money. Some take CDL classes.”
Domonski stated she had actually visited New Martinsville’s American Legion to inform them of Helping Heroes, but “I keep missing them.” Wetzel County Commission Vice President Larry Lemon recommended that Domonski touch base with both New Martinsville’s and Pine Grove’s American Legions.
The Supportive Service for Veteran Families grant, from Veterans’ Affairs, helps to fund Helping Heroes. The organization also has fundraisers and accepts personal donations. “For a while, Helping Heroes was just run off of donations and fundraising,” she noted. “This year, we got the SSVF grant through the VA, but a lot of funds come from just personal fundraisers.”
Domonski stated that there is not a unit in the state of Ohio, nor is Helping Heroes a national program. “I know there are other organizations similar to Helping Heroes,” she noted, “that cover different heroes.” She stated that if someone wants to come over to West Virginia and stay in a shelter or is willing to live in West Virginia, “they can qualify.”
“Because being homeless, you don’t have a residence. If you stay in a residence in one of the counties we cover, we can help them, if they are willing to stay in West Virginia.”
Domonski stated that no one from Wetzel County had visited Helping Heroes yet. “The first time I was here was a week-and-a-half ago. We haven’t gotten anybody yet, and I’m hoping the more people I get to talk to, the more people from Wetzel County we can get into our service. I know you guys don’t have a homeless shelter, and neither does Brooke County. It’s hard to identify the homeless.”
For more information on Helping Heroes, check out www.helpingheroesinc.org or call 304-810-4291. Helping Heroes is located at 256 Jefferson Avenue, Moundsville.
In another matter, the county approved of renewing and expanding the county employees’ Air Evac Lifeteam memberships so that they will have complete coverage anywhere in the country.
The commission is currently considering the same for county residents. However, in the meantime, they are protected with a county-purchased membership that covers them if they are flown by Air Evac from Wetzel, Monongalia, Marion, Harrison, Doddridge, Tyler, and Ohio counties in West Virginia and Monroe County in Ohio.
This $98,000 expenditure measures out to roughly $6 paid for each member of the county. Wetzel County residents flown from any of the above-listed counties receive no out-of-pocket expense. The only disclaimer is for uninsured residents. Those residents receive the bill for the Medicare allowable rate, which is about a fifth of the normal bill.