Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

January 2, 2013

VOA help for veterans available locally

By Crystal J. Damron - Staff Writer
Journal-Times

Jan. 2, 2013 —     Back in 1896 when Ballington and Maud Booth founded Volunteers of America (VOA), their vision was “reaching and uplifting” the American people.      

    Now, 116 years later, their vision has arrived in Eastern Kentucky with an outreach office in Grayson.

    Volunteers of America assist many different groups and needs, family homelessness, addiction, disabilities, HIV or AIDS, senior citizens, and other issues citizens in need may face.  

    The Volunteers of America group also specializes in veterans’ assistance. The office in Grayson is located at 211 S. Carol Malone Blvd., It focuses solely on the needs of veterans and their families.

    This office serves a five-county region, consisting of Carter, Boyd, Greenup, Lawrence and Elliott.

    Typical issues the VOA addresses vary from homeless veterans to helping a veteran with all the paperwork needed to receive his or her entitled benefits for service to our country.  

    Craig Riffle, program manager for supportive services for veterans’ families in the Grayson office, is a veteran himself.

    He believes being able to talk “vet to vet” makes it easier for those in need to reach out for help.

    Being able to speak to someone who has been where they have been or seen what they have seen means a lot to those who have seen and been through so much.

    The veterans department of Volunteers of America is funded from grants through the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    However, other VOA departments rely on financial gifts from communities they serve.

     To support the VOA’s other activities, send donations to 933 Goss Ave., Louisville, KY 40217, or contact the office at (502) 636-0771 or the website www.voaky.org for more details or questions.

    Riffle’s goal is to be able to reach more veterans and address more needs.

    When asked the most rewarding part of his job, he says it is being able to help a service member and their families get back on their feet.

    “Having rent and utilities all caught up with no late notices gives them a clean, fresh start,” Riffle said. “We’re able to help with any need a family may face.”

    VOA’s main focus is low income or homeless veterans with any type of discharge other than dishonorable.

    However if the veteran doesn’t meet the requirements, they have other contacts where help may be available.

    Riffle realized his call in a work-study job in college.

    Being a veteran himself, he found that assisting veterans is right where he wanted to be. Since arriving in Grayson from Parkersburg W.Va., he has been involved in bringing The Traveling Tribute, also known as The Wall, to Grayson and he also helped plan the Veterans Day service at Veterans Park.

    If you are a veteran in need or know of a veteran in need, Riffle suggests that you visit Volunteers of America at 211 S. Carol Malone Blvd. in Grayson or call 606-474-0200 or email craigr@voaky.org.

    Crystal Damron can be reached at cdamron@journal-times.com or by telephone at 474-5101.