Two Wright State graduates have helped establish a local support group that will assist students and other veterans returning from military deployment.
Operation Fairborn Cares will host the Family Focus Forum, its first public event, July 13. The forum will include small groups discussions as well as presentations and information about veteran services available locally.
“This is the community extending a helping hand to our veteran student population,” said Valita Wilhoite, Wright State assistant director of student support services and community standards. “A lot of veterans just don’t know where to go to find the help they need.”
Wilhoite is a board member of the organization formally established in January 2013 by fellow Wright State graduate and Fairborn city councilwoman Marilyn McCauley. Their work has helped maintain Wright State’s reputation as a “veteran-friendly” university.
McCauley said the forum’s primary focus is to allow families of post-9/11 veterans to share both positive and negative experiences in a comfortable environment. Although Operation Fairborn Cares focuses on Greene County, the forum is open to all southwest Ohio post-9/11 veterans transitioning into civilian life.
“The small group sessions are important,” McCauley said, “because they allow family members to come together and share experiences, which helps battle the feelings of isolation they sometimes face. The other purpose is to provide an information-gathering opportunity. A lot of veterans aren’t aware of the all the local organizations that can offer help and services to them.”
Wilhoite gave the example of a local organization that will provide low-cost minor home repairs to veterans. McCauley helped establish the Boots to Books Veterans Fund, which helps veteran students with unmet financial needs due to administrative or academic complications.
“Operation Fairborn Cares is here to help all post-9/11 veterans transition back into the civilian community, but we do have a really great relationship with Wright State and its students,” McCauley said.
Food will be available and several local retailers will provide door prizes.
The event will take place from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Abiding Christ Lutheran Church, 326 Dayton-Yellow Springs Road in Fairborn. The entrance to Meister Hall is at the rear of the church building. Child care will be provided with 72 hours advance notice.
For more information, visit the Operation Fairborn Cares website, call (937) 305-7540 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.