STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- Police officers are doing what they can to help veterans find the services and connections they need in the Stevens Point area.
Police Chief Kevin Ruder says there are over 5000 veterans in Portage County alone, and many are struggling to find the activities and services they need and deserve. Ruder says they have one officer, Mike Bink, that serves as the department’s Veteran’s liaison. “He works on the road, so that he ends up being a resource to any veterans that we come across that are struggling. He’s already had some successes in getting them referred to different resources within the community, working very closely with Mike Clements, the Portage County Veterans Affairs Officer.”
Ruder says they are working with other community members to survey area veterans and perhaps develop a one-stop resource center to help them easily find what they need.
Chief Ruder says many World War I and II veterans talk about their experiences and utilize the programs of organizations like the VFW and American Legion. Many younger veterans from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan tend to keep to themselves more. “They need to feel wanted within the community and make a difference, so us looking at resources in a resource center that they can go to, to make it easier for them to find these different resources to help them, I think is something that we should all be in favor of.”
Ruder says it will take time and additional community participation to make a resource center a reality, but he says police helping vets connect with existing programs and providers is a good start.
(Our interview with Chief Kevin Ruder can be heard on our website, here.)