Heroes to Hometowns was created by the Department of Defense in 2005 to enable and assist communities in developing programs to support military veterans and their families when the veterans were returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Pierce County had already established a Veterans Employment Task Force in the fall of 2005. This Task Force became the Pierce County Heroes to Hometowns organization in January of 2006. Terry Hayes, the President of Tacoma Goodwill was the person who started the Task Force and she organized the group by selecting a representative of the Tacoma Rotary # 8 Club who then met with representatives of several groups, both active duty representatives and members of Veteran Support organizations. The Department of Defense entered into a partnership with the National Office of The American Legion in 2007 and that provided a viable structure to the organization on a Countrywide basis.
The Pierce County Heroes to Hometowns organization now has over thirty different agencies, both active duty components and a large number of civilian volunteer groups associated with providing support to military personnel and their families. We have agencies from Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, King and Snohomish Counties and their are thirty eight represented on the Advisory Council. The group holds a monthly meeting to coordinate their individual activities and there are also many meetings with sub-groups that meet throughout the month that provide assistance to the numerous clients that they all work with on a daily basis.
As a group we are making a great contribution to the military service members and their families. Other members of the organization will also be providing input to this blog as we continue to grow in the days and weeks to come.
Patrick A Steel, Program Coordinator