HANNIBAL — A team effort between the Harry S. Truman Veterans’ Hospital and the Columbia Veterans Center brought a variety of programs and resources to Hannibal for local veterans and their families, with the next visit for the Mobile Vet Center scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, June 17, at the Hannibal Job Fair at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center.
Lloyd Adams, a veteran and veteran outreach program specialist with the Columbia Veterans Center, said he visited with a few veterans during his stop at American Legion Post 55 on Thursday. The MVC is a 37-foot long mobile resource unit, and the goal is to bring vital services — including counseling for individual or group readjustment, military sexual trauma, marital and family issues and bereavement, along with referrals to community resources and employment and job assistance — right to veterans and their families in the communities where they live.
Adams has worked with the Columbia Veterans Center through the Department of Veterans Affairs Readjustment Counseling Service for six years. He supports veterans with struggles like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse counseling, and he said the program covers 38 counties in Northeast and Central Missouri. Sometimes, Adams sees several people, and other times there aren’t as many visitors. But he knows the importance of each interaction.
“For me, helping just one person is doing my job,” he said.
He said there are a total of 96 MVCs in the nation, with two in Missouri. He joins colleagues traveling from community to community three to four days each week. And although the pandemic put a damper on in-person visits in the past, it opened the door to more video counseling from the Columbia Veterans Center. He said the service will continue, allowing services to be provided to more veterans.
Adams said support from the Missouri Veterans Commission, the American Legion and the National Guard have strengthened the mission as the Columbia Veterans Center and Harry S. Truman Veterans Hospital continue to bring services to veterans in their communities.
“A lot of our veterans live in the rural parts of the state, and they may not have immediate access to a lot of the services that we provide through the Mobile Vet Center. It’s a great opportunity for veterans to have these mobile visits in their communities,” said Jeffrey Hoelscher, public affairs officer with Harry S. Truman Veterans’ Hospital. He stressed the variety of resources and services available for veterans and their families. “We’re very happy that we’re able to provide this service in some of those more rural areas.”
Adams encouraged veterans and family members to call 573-814-6206 for more information about services available. If a specific service isn’t available, Adams said staff members will connect veterans with the organization they need.
Assistance after-hours, on weekends, and holidays is available by calling 1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387).