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CSKT veterans program announces new vehicle, staff

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News from CSKT Tribal Health Veterans Affairs 

ST. IGNATIUS – The CSKT Tribal Health Veterans Affairs program received a 2019 Ford Explorer as part of a grant through the Wounded Warriors Family Support organization in early March.

The Wounded Warriors Family Support organization is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide support to the families of those who have been wounded, injured or killed during combat operations. Rated a four-star nonprofit by Charity Navigator, Wounded Warriors Family Support aids veterans and their families in healing the wounds that medicine cannot.

The organization supports wounded veterans and their families, even after physical needs are met, to help them heal, recover and reconnect. Wounded Warriors Family Support works to provide services and resources to combat-wounded veterans and their families that supplement those provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies.

The organization originated from a small-scale, pass-the-hat campaign initiated by Col. John Folsom in 2003 benefitting U.S. soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany — the first stop for wounded military personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan before returning home. From those humble beginnings, Wounded Warriors Family Support has grown into a national organization serving wounded veterans and their families across the country in a variety of ways.

John Wheeler is the new Veterans Affairs Tribal Health Care advocate for CSKT.  He says the new vehicle is being used to transport veterans to Veterans Affairs offices in Kalispell and Missoula and other functions the CSKT VA program is requested to attend.

“We are so grateful for this generous gift from the Wounded Warriors Family Support organization,” said Wheeler. “We serve approximately 569 veterans, and there is great need for transportation support, especially during winter driving season and with the long distances it takes to get to appointments. This new vehicle really helps us provide for our veterans so that we can support their health and wellbeing.”

As a Navy veteran, Wheeler is no stranger to military service. 

“I served our country with four-years active duty and two-years inactive reserves,” said Wheeler. “I was stationed in May Port on the Franklin D. Roosevelt for two years and at Cecil field in VA-174 training squadron for two years.”

Today, Wheeler is advocating for veterans. For more information, you can reach him at 406-883-5541, ext. 7343. At Polson Tribal Health Care, the address is No. 5, 4th Ave. East, Polson, MT  58860. His email address is john.wheeler@cskthealth.org. 

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