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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Warrior Summit Transition Fair held in partnership with the DoD Warrior Games in Chicago July 5, 2017

CHICAGO - July 5, 2017 -- The Warrior Summit Coalition, in partnership with the DoD Warrior Games presented the Warrior Summit Transition Resource Fair here today. 

The Warrior Summit Resource and Transition Fair connects military, veterans and families to benefits, education, employment, housing, legal, financial, disability, emotional and mental health, and family services and organizations. This one-of-a-kind event featuring over 150 tables and booths of businesses, colleges, universities, government agencies and other military friendly veteran support organizations was free and open to the public.

The fair is part of the continued efforts to provide care and job placement assistance for veterans and their families. The Road Home Program, is an organization which provides extensive assistance to veterans suffering from a variety of issues upon returning home from military duty.

“The mission of the Road Home Program is to provide mental health care services at no cost to veterans, their families and extended families,” said Michael Kerley, a Navy reservist and advocate of the Road Home program.

The Road Home Program also works with partners to help veterans make the transition to civilian life once they receive the help they need.

“I belong to human resources for Rush Medical Center,” said Kerley. “My main mission is to locate and hire veterans as well as people with disabilities to work at Rush University Medical Center. I also work in conjunction with the Road Home Program. If you need this type of help please come to us. We have partnerships in Los Angeles, Boston as well as Atlanta, Georgia.”

Nicole Williams, wife of Team Air Force Warrior Games athlete Terrance Williams, and herself an Air Force retiree, was one of the many participants of the fair.

“The fair gives my husband an opportunity to meet people in the same predicament,” she said. “When he is here doing adaptive sports he finds other survivors— he actually feels at home. Being here and seeing the people here support him, it helps him. When he’s here it is such an amazing feeling, it pulls your heart strings.” 

“This is important for veterans to get resources, but also important for organizations to collaborate to help veterans,” said Branden Marty, a Warrior Games Organizer and employee at Rags of Honor. “One of the best things for being involved in the Warrior Games is that I know so many of the vets and their friends, I love reconnecting.” Marty, a former Navy pilot said the fair helps veterans reconnect and find out what resources and opportunities are available to them.

“We might not know that we need connections, the business aspect of it, the motivation aspect of it,” said Sgt Leon Pierce, a retired member of Team Marine Corps. “There are such a variety of services here. Speaking to a lot of these people, companies started by vets, hearing their stories, it gives fuel to that fire burning inside you.” 

The Warrior Summit Coalition has partnered with the 2017 DoD Warrior Games this year to highlight their efforts. This year marks the first time the Warrior Games have taken place off a military installation and Chicago was selected among numerous cities to host this year’s games.

The event was sponsored by the University of Illinois, Walmart and the Road Home Program. Partners include the State of Illinois, The Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Parks District. 

The DoD Warrior Games are an annual event allowing wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans to compete in Paralympic-style sports including archery, cycling, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and wheelchair basketball.

Navy Public Affairs  press release July 5, 2017
Story by MC1 Nick Scott and MCSN Jonathan Word
Photos by MC1 Nick Scott

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