Special to the Opelika Observer
Todd Rauch recently announced the formation of a Veterans Task Force (VTF) aimed at helping veterans in District 38 and throughout the surrounding region.
Rauch, an Iraq War Purple Heart recipient, learned firsthand how challenging it can be to transition from military life to civilian life with little support from officials in the veterans community.
The mission of the VTF is to build a veteran-based network by providing additional resources to both current and newer veterans that are transitioning out of the military life into the civilian life.
“Veterans often fall through the cracks when seeking out federal and state programs that are available to them, or when trying to find ways to stay connected with other veterans in their community,” Rauch said. “I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology from Auburn University because I witnessed the onset of mental health issues amongst fellow service members during my time at Walter Reed Medical Center. Over the years, I’ve connected with other veterans and created an amazing support network where we all look out for one another. I want to make it easier for veterans to become involved, earn a degree, get a good-paying job and pay it forward by volunteering to help other veterans in the community.”
The VTF will focus on six key areas: veterans affair benefits/claims, education, jobs, service organizations, nonprofits and veterans justice system. Members of the task force include:
- Deborah Mitchell, Valley area lawyer: veterans affair benefit and claims process
- Robyn Westbrook, veteran and advisor for Auburn Student Veterinarians Associations: education
- Charles Livings, Still Serving Veterans and Corretta Bozeman, Alabama Career Center Systems: jobs
- Vann Daughtry, retired U.S. Army: service organizations
- Jamie Popwell, founder of Flags for Vets: nonprofits
- Todd Rauch, candidate for State Representative in District 38: veterans justice system.
Rauch explained the need for this program.
“Alabama has the fifth highest recorded veteran suicide rate in the nation, higher than the national average. Due to the tax exemption for military pensions in Alabama, we have a large veteran community in District 38 and the surrounding areas. As veterans, we are personally accountable for each other,” Rauch said. “I’m committed to increasing the quality of life for veterans in our region and eliminating veteran suicides throughout the state.”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Rauch directly at 334-610-1820.