While defending our nation on active duty, men and women in the military earn a variety of benefits provided through the U.S. Veterans Administration and the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs. These include educational benefits, compensation and pension benefits, and for some, physical and psychological health support. To receive these benefits, veterans must complete complex forms and follow discouraging bureaucratic procedures. To assist veterans with these challenges service organizations such as The American Legion, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans have established support centers in larger Front Range cities such as Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. Veterans in the Estes Valley area (including Glen Haven, Drake and Allenspark) had to drive to those cities to get help. This trip has represented a huge time and expense for veterans and their families needing help.
Things are about to change.
American Legion Post 119 in Estes Park is beginning a new Veterans Service program to bridge that gap for Estes Valley veterans. This program is being offered under the leadership of a new American Legion Service Officer, Michael Moore, and Assistant Service Officer, Bill Marshall. The objective is to assist local veterans with applications for benefits and services. Both Moore and Marshall are veterans who are aware of the challenges of accessing benefits, and will provide assistance to veterans and their families in completing their benefits applications, and directing them to the appropriate channels for additional assistance.
A second phase of American Legion Post 119’s service program is provided by Annette Matlock, who is a Readjustment Counseling Therapist at the Boulder Vet Center. Beginning in September, Annette will be available for counseling appointments with veterans at the American Legion Post in Estes Park on the first and third Thursday of each month. Matlock has a Masters of Social Work degree, has been working with Vet Center programs since 1983, and has extensive experience working with victims of PTSD and related problems. To make an appointment with Annette for the Estes Park location, contact the Boulder Vet Center at (303) 440-7306 and ask for Annette Matlock at extension 31015.
Benefits service appointments at American Legion Post 119 also can be scheduled on the first and third Thursday of each month. If you wish to set up an appointment for benefits assistance, please email either Moore or Marshall with a preferred date and a brief description of your goal for the meeting. If you do not have access to email, then please call or text them. Contact Michael Moore at Scotsirishpadre@gmail.com or (970) 699-8014; or Bill Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 951-1090.
According to Terry Rizzuti, Commander of Post 119, “This new service program is an important step forward for our local American Legion Post, as it provides a means for us to fulfill one of the most vital aspects of our mission: continued devotion and support for our American Veterans. We are grateful to Moore, Marshall, and Matlock for volunteering their time and energy to make this service possible.”
The American Legion is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. Estes Park’s Post 119 was chartered in 1920 as the local branch of that national organization. It is located at 850 N St Vrain Ave, Estes Park—across from the Dannels Fire Station, at the corner of Highways 36 and 7. Veterans and their family members are encouraged to join and support this worthy organization.