United Way, Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council partner with library to sponsor programs

The Elizabethton/Carter County Library’s involvement in the Veteran History Project does not end at interviewing veterans and recording their stories. They also want to connect with veterans and connect them with others like them by showing their appreciation, and that is where United Way comes into the picture.

Director Crystal Carter said she had spoken with Adult Services Coordinator Maryann Owen at the library, who is spear-heading the library’s efforts in the program.

“A lot of veterans are in nursing facilities,” Carter said. “There, your ability to socialize is greatly reduced.”

She said they wanted to find a way to connect these veterans to each other and to the greater community, and so United Way got them in touch with the Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council.

“They are very dedicated to veterans and their causes,” she said.

Carter said this helped Owen secure the funding she needed for various projects she may want to put on in the community, to host roughly one event a month.

“It could be anything as small as coffee and donuts to maybe holding a get-together,” she said. “It will give [veterans] a place to connect.”

She said projects like these are important for the community because time is running out to reach out.

“We are losing veterans at a fast pace,” Carter said. “Once they are gone, their history is gone.”

She said United Way’s mission statement directly correlates with assisting people like Owen in community projects, pushing towards their goal of providing health and financial stability for all residents in Carter County.

“We work to resolve the inequities of Carter County,” she said. “We have a large population who go to serve, and sometimes they have PTSD and other mental health issues. They are fighting to reintegrate into society.”

She said it was an honor to work alongside the library on projects like this.

“The credit really goes to Owen,” she said. “These veterans need recognition.”

She said they have yet to set anything in stone regarding future veteran programs, but said they will continue to work on ways to reach out to veterans who need the support.

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