Facebook Twitter K1-TEXT Email Print


Washington County

Posted: Feb 20, 2020 10:01 AMUpdated: Feb 20, 2020 1:30 PM

Local Non-Profit to Aid Veterans, Service Members

Share on RSS


Garrett Giles

At Tri County Tech's Strategy Center in Bartlesville, a special ribbon cutting ceremony was held for a non-profit that looks to help the approximately 3,600 veterans in our local communities.

The Bartlesville Regional Chamber of Commerce put on the ribbon cutting ceremony for Veterans Connection Organization, Inc. on Wednesday afternoon. Sharon Reese, the Executive Director for the non-profit, said she feels excited and blessed.

Two years ago, God moved Reese to move back to Bartlesville because He had a job for her to do. Reese said she found herself not listening to God, and she took a job prior to the mission she was called to. Now she is back on track with the task God has placed on her to fulfill. Sometimes we have to decrease ourselves and increase God so we can stay on track with what God has in store for us.

Reese said she calls Spirit Church her home church, and that Lead Pastor Darryl Wootton told her that “this is the year to think big and dream big.” Reese, who served 20-years in the Navy herself, thanked God for the opportunity to provide veterans, service members and their families with the resources they might need. She is also a 1980 graduate of College High.

Also during the ribbon cutting ceremony, Oklahoma Congressman Kevin Hern's Field Representative Adam Jones (pictured below with Reese) was in attendance to present the VCO with a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.” Reese said they will utilize the partnership with Rep. Hern. She said they know how important the homeless veterans, and veterans in general, are in this nation.

Field Representative Jones said there are 50,000 veterans in the general area of northeast Oklahoma. Reese said she is looking forward to collaborating with Rep. Hern's Office to streamline any process a veteran in Bartlesville and beyond might be having. She thinks that it is wonderful that Rep. Hern's office has prioritized veterans.

John Holden (pictured below speaking) is the chairman of the Veterans Connection Organization, Inc. He is a certified VA attorney. Karen Hurst is the Vice Chair of the non-profit. Reese said they aim to have people with military connections serve on their board. She said are other incredible board members like Joe Todd (the Bartlesville Military Historian), Amy Wright (a professor at Rogers State University). She said on Wednesday that there are so many others to thank that serve on the board and that she appreciates all of them for their work.

People on the Veterans Connection Organization Board have some connection to veterans. Reese said it is good to work from the heart and not work from a title. She said when it comes to working with veterans, you have to give 150-percent and care for them by serving them from the heart. That is why Reese thought it would be important to have people involved that have some military background.

Looking at her own military career and how it plays into her role as the Executive Director of the Veterans Connection Organization, Reese said she realizes that veterans may think sometimes that they do not need any help. She said letting them know that they have brothers and sisters locally (both on the board and in the community) that have served in the military like them is a good thing, because it shows them that the VCO knows what they are going through. Reese said the VCO knows what veterans are going through because they have experienced what it means to be a veteran to some capacity.

It is important for the VCO to be in Bartlesville. Reese said the 3,600 local veterans that are in the system are either disabled, or they are getting medication. She said in the Bartlesville area, there is no full-time veteran entity.

One veteran that Reese mentioned comes to the Bartlesville area once every two weeks from Muskogee. She said Bartlesville needed a five-day a week veteran entity that provides assistance to those who have served or who are currently serving.

The services that the Veterans Connection Organization offers include new disability claims, and if you have an existing claim, they will offer to update it to see if you can get an increase in your disability claim. The VCO is also partnering with the VA out of Tulsa to where they can streamline a process for their HUDVASH vouchers. Those vouchers are designated for homeless veterans.

Reese said the Tulsa VA also has an employment entity that is part of their homeless program. She said the Veterans Connection Organization has partnered with other non-profits like Agape Mission, the Salvation Army, and Mary Martha Outreach as well. This is to provide veterans they might encounter with resources and information.

The VCO of Bartlesville will be at Agape Mission on the first and third Wednesday's of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Mary Martha Outreach will see the VCO on the first and third Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Reese said the Salvation Army has fliers from the VCO and they will refer veterans to them.

The Veterans Connection Organization, Inc. is open on Monday’s and Friday’s from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., but appointments are required. They are also open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday with no appointments necessary.

While they are visiting the other non-profits on those specific days, volunteers will be at the VCO offices located in Tri County Tech's Strategy Center at 6105 SE Nowata Road, Suite 107 in Bartlesville. Reese said volunteers are needed and that you can volunteer with them at the specific non-profit sites on those specific days that were mentioned. You can find additional volunteer info on the Veteran Connection Organization's website – vcobville.com.

The mission statement for the Veterans Connection Group states: “The Veterans Connection Organization is a one-stop resource office that will connect all veterans, service members, and their family members with local non-profits that will enhance the quality of life issues they may face."


« Back to News