From the July 3, 2022 Dominion Post
As a veteran, do you ever wish you could learn more about benefits, experiences, and opportunities in your area? If so, we hope to help you better understand your place as a veteran in NCWV by reading this new monthly column, The OWH Memo.
My name is Tiffany Summerlin. I’m a Marine Corps veteran, and I’m the Executive Director of Operation Welcome Home (OWH) at Mylan Park in Morgantown. Along with my team, we hope to help veterans, their families, and their friends, live their best life. Terry Vance is our Program Manager who works directly with every veteran, and Josh Malencia is our part-time Agricultural Program Assistant.
Here’s what you can expect on the first Sunday of each month: First, I’m going to provide content relevant to our veteran population. Second, I’ll do my best to address topics of greatest concern to each of you. Third, you’ll learn about resources, web pages, benefits, organizations, and initiatives that matter to you. “You” refers to not just veterans, but it includes everyone in our veteran community: spouses, caregivers, survivors, family members, etc. If you have a story to tell, we can tell it together. Feel free to make suggestions by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think it is also important to tell you what you won’t see in the column. Politics and complaints. Reach out to me if you need to be connected for either one, and we can address it individually.
To get started, let’s have an “OWH 101” orientation, for those of you who might not be familiar with the organization. Whether you’re just now transitioning from active duty or have been out for decades, we are here to assist you!
In the Summer of 2010, Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited the area and gave Morgantown the challenge of “becoming the best city in the nation for returning warriors.” He selected Morgantown because of the outstanding economic climate and national news coverage of our low unemployment rate. That challenge created the space for the formation of Operation Welcome Home in 2012.
Operation Welcome Home is a non-profit organization, that provides veterans a physical venue for referral services and support, mentorship, counseling, and transitional and employment services. In turn, the program helps Veterans develop an individualized employment plan. This is a program that aims to alleviate common barriers to services and employment faced by veterans.
Though the mission of Operation Welcome Home has changed to a degree since its inception, the concept of meeting the employment needs of veterans remains first and foremost as we serve the entire veteran community in our area. While we have developed a unique and impactful means of placing veterans in meaningful employment, we still field general veteran-related issues as they arise and continue to use a strong and diverse web of strategic partners to meet the needs of our prior and current servicemen and women.
No Veteran or family member is turned away from the services provided by our organization. We are here to serve all who have served our country regardless of era of service, branch, rank, deployment status, ability, or disability. We are here for you.
As you read this monthly column, I want to inform and encourage our community to be the best place for veterans to live, work, and play. Please reach out with any questions or recommendations for future content. I am here to serve you!