Quick Reaction Force: Removing Barriers is a veterans benefits fair held virtually and quarterly in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. It connects veterans and their families with participating community-based service providers. Services include employment, education, health care, child care, tuition assistance, utility and housing assistance and mental well being counseling for veterans, their families and surviving spouses. At the event, organizations interact with attendees to provide eligibility criteria, answer questions and set appointments.
Participating community organizations and government agencies have included: Tropical Texas Behavioral Health, Hidalgo County Veterans Services Office (VSO) and its Broken Arrow Financial Assistance grant program and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Some of these organizations receive funding support from the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Fund for Veterans’ Assistance grants including Tropical Texas Behavioral Health and the Hidalgo County VSO.
Additionally, providing services in the fairs have been TVC Health Care Advocate Freddie Salazar, and representatives of Workforce Solutions and C2 Global Professional Services.
“The Removing Barriers events bring community-based organizations to you and provide eligibility criteria, answer questions for transitioning service members, veterans and their spouses in the Rio Grande Valley. They are also available to set appointments,” said event organizer Gerardo “Jerry” Garza, Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Rural Veteran Career Advisor and Army veteran.
“The goal is to connect transitioning service members, veterans and eligible spouses to resources readily available in our community,” said event co-organizer and Marine veteran Armando Benavidez of Workforce Solutions.
It has been successful in making that connection. Over 870 veterans and family members have attended the first two Quick Reaction Force: Removing Barriers quarterly events.
The next Removing Barriers event is in July, date to be announced. Removing Barriers is a partnership of the Texas Workforce Commission’s Lower Rio Grande Valley Workforce Development Area (WDA) Board, Workforce Solutions and TVC.