One April ago, the Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans had to close its Warrior Resource Center for general access and shift to an appointment-only basis for individual services and referrals.
Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions easing up, the feeling is that it’s again safe to allow foot traffic. The center, at 4 Hillcrest Plaza Way, has resumed regular business hours for walk-ins, 9 a.m. — 5 p.m., Monday — Friday.
“We’re taking baby steps as far as opening up,” Welcome Home Executive Director Mike Trickey said. “The board is taking precautions because if there was every a group of folks that are concerned, it is ours, as far as age and underlying conditions. But I think we’re getting closer than we were a few months ago.”
Even with the limits, people have been coming in, volunteer coordinator Amy Eifling said, with veterans dropping by for assistance, referrals, or even just to say hello.
“It’s been pretty busy. That’s good, though,” Eifling said.
Still on hold: Larger gatherings, such as the highly popular Thursday morning coffees for veterans and veterans’ spouse luncheons. The WRC is still keeping numbers in the building to no more than 25. Mask-use and social distancing are still required.
“We would have 80 to 100 veterans in here for coffees. That would be tough (to resume) unless the entire restrictions were lifted,” Trickey said.
Weekly counseling meetings also have yet to resume, as the Veterans Administration office in Grand Junction is not sending its counseling staff on trips.
“Those are the main activities that we would like to get going again,” said Trickey. “That’s the first thing I would like to see come back to us.”
The Montrose County Veterans Service officer remains available through the WRC by appointment.
One thing that is coming back this year is the Veterans Resource Tour, now slated for April 14 at the Montrose County Event Center.
The tour is an opportunity for veterans to get help with VA health care enrollment, VA benefits, information about the veterans center, and VA programs and other support.
The resource tour is from 1 — 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by a town hall from 5:30 to 7 p.m. There is a dial-in option for the town hall: 1-872-701-0185; meeting ID 441238950#.
For more information about the resource tour, call 970-314-6597.
“Hopefully, we can get a good turnout. It gives all the resources there at one spot,” Trickey said. “Vets will be able to meet directly with a lot of the department heads to answer any questions they have or be signed up for benefits. It is a great opportunity for veterans.”
For information about Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans and the resource center, or to volunteer or donate, call 970-765-2210.
Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.