Going Green For Veterans

Published 10:35 am Friday, November 10, 2023

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 The LaFayette courthouse will be lit green in honor of veterans this week. From Nov. 6 to Veterans Day on Nov. 12, Operation Green Light encourages counties to light up their buildings green as a show of support for those who have and are serving. 

The joint effort was started three years ago by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers (NACVSO) as a way to show appreciation for military veterans. 

“Chambers County Commission greatly appreciates [veteran and active duty] service to our country…we appreciate them guarding our freedom, ”said County Commissioner Debra Riley,

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Riley encouraged veterans in need of assistance, medical or otherwise, to go to the County Veterans Service Office (VSO). The office provides resources and assistance to U.S. Veterans, their dependents and survivors.

“We also make sure that when the good Lord calls them home, they are able to let their family members properly give them the military honors that they deserve. And that’s one thing that we run into a lot,” said Yvonne Triplett, the Veterans Service Officer for Chambers County and a veteran herself.  

Triplett sees many family members of servicemen and women come in unsure of how to begin the process of a military funeral. Triplett serves around 1,600 veterans, surviving spouses and children. Apart from financial and logistical assistance, the office tries and identify other needs in the veteran population.

“I actually have identified that there are four families for Thanksgiving that could use an extra little help. I have a food drive going on for these four families right now,” Triplett said.

Food can be dropped off at the VSO located at the Chambers County Courthouse Annex at 610 South Gilmer Avenue in Lanett. Triplett said there are also events around the county during Veterans Day to show support.

While Riley says there are no specific programs for veterans through the county, there are federal and state programs. She adds the county does have programs that are beneficial for all Chambers citizens, including veterans.

“We know across the nation, that suicide is among our veterans, and homelessness is high among our veterans. So that’s one of the only things that we’re working on specifically not just for veterans, but just our mental health patients.”

The Chambers County Commission is close to finalizing NACo’s Stepping Up program at the county’s jail. Stepping Up aims at reducing over over-incarceration of people with mental illness. When arriving at the jail, prisoners are given a mental health assessment by a clinician who then refers them to the East Alabama Medical Center, if needed.