By Morgan Bryce
Opelika native and Flags for Vets founder Jamie Popwell was recently hired as the veterans outreach agent for the Lee County Extension Office, part of the larger Alabama Cooperative Extension Service.
Funded by the Lee County Commission, Lee is only the second county in the state to create the type of position that Popwell holds. Following are a few of his positional responsibilities:
• assist veterans of all ages in finding and receiving help with housing, employment, education, medical/mental health and overall wellness
•bring awareness to the general public on veteran needs and concerns
•liaising with other organizations including non-profits to identify veterans and their needs
• providing direct assistance to veterans thru workshops and seminars on a variety of subjects
• work with both chambers of commerce, cities and Auburn University on identified veteran issues and coordinate help/responses to those needs.
Nearly 10,000 veterans live in Lee County with an additional 22,000 plus living in the four surrounding counties. Citing the relative closeness of military installations like Fort Benning, Rucker and Maxwell Air Force Base, Popwell said the need for a position like his needed now more than ever.
“My hope is that I can work with veterans with specific needs to receive the help, assistance, resources, funding, and anything else they require through direct interaction and networking. I also hope that through educating the public to veteran issues and concerns we, as a community, can better serve those who served us first,” Popwell said. “I spend every single day in and around veterans either thru this position or thru the nonprofit (Flags for Vets) I founded more than two years ago. My desire to serve them is second only to serving my God so I take this position personally because of my passion for service.”
Since assuming the position, Popwell said he has conducted a number of speaking engagements at local businesses, churches and civic groups about the services he provides.
Future events Popwell will be involved with include a veterans employer workshop Feb. 15 at Opelika’s Southern Union State Community College campus and workshop for veteran, first-time homebuyers through VA loans March 9 at the Lee County Extension Office.
For more information, call 334-748-8541 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Lee County Extension Office is located at 600 S. 7th St.