On June 1, the Warrenton-based nonprofit Hero’s Bridge expanded its Battle Buddy services to include a Call Center to serve Northern Virginia and seven other counties throughout the Valley and Shenandoah regions. Hero’s Bridge is the only non-profit organization that focuses exclusively on providing rapid and direct assistance to aging veterans through its four programs which address social isolation, mental health, the therapeutic value of pets, and safe housing. The Battle Buddy Call Center’s purpose is to bring these services to more veterans.  “Our purpose is to see that none of our senior heroes are living in social isolation, severely substandard living conditions, food insecurity, or battling substance abuse alone,” said CEO and founder Molly Brooks.

The new Battle Buddy Call Center implements a dual-focused assessment that includes both quality of life and suicide risk. “We have found that organizations rarely consider both senior and veteran factors when conducting assessments. With the aging veteran population we serve, we have two distinct assessments to consider all factors affecting aging veterans,” said Brooks. Hero’s Bridge plans to continue expanding these vital services to more aging heroes across the country, such as Vietnam-era Army veteran and Randolph County, North Carolina resident David Moore who reached out to Hero’s Bridge for help after reading about its national call center on a veterans’ blog. Moore’s request was simple. The combination of poor health and summer heat kept him from being able to maintain his yard and cut wood. It was quickly becoming out of hand. He reached out for help and connected with Battle Buddy Call Center coordinator Rachel Brown, who began making calls in Randolph County. Rita Honeycutt of the Randolph County Department of Veteran Services received one of those calls.

“I put a message out to the community from my Facebook account asking for help. The response was overwhelming. Within a matter of hours, we had several tree companies and landscapers willing to volunteer their time,” Honeycutt said. Volunteers from The Firewood Guy NC AG Grind Masters decided to make a day of it and on August 12, they visited Moore and his wife and got to work. Misti Ashe of AG Grind Masters said her business felt the need to lend a hand as a way of saying thank you to veterans.

Getting Help

Veterans who need assistance are encouraged to call 866-OLD-VETS, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. EST.

“Our contribution is only a drop in the bucket compared to the sacrifices that our veterans give. Our community was able to step forward and help in a time of need. We are very thankful for the opportunity to be of assistance to Mr. Moore,” she said. Moore said the work was appreciated. “It was very hot that day, and we made sure to have water and Gatorade available and prepare lunch for them. The whole team worked very diligently and got a great deal done. I hope to get the word out [about Hero’s Bridge call center] to other veterans who may need help,” he said.

Published in the November 2023 issue of Warrenton Lifestyle