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IAVA Expands Effort to Provide Timely Help to Vets During Pandemic

April 15, 2020 by Dan McCue
The Three Soldiers, a bronze statue by Frederick Hart, on the National Mall. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is expanding its highly regarded rapid response program to provide aid and comfort to even more veterans during the coronavirus pandemic.

Newly rebranded as the IAVA’s “Quick Reaction Force,” the initiative provides confidential peer-to-peer support, comprehensive care management and resource connections for any assistance a veteran requires, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The newly expanded program ensures that all veterans, regardless of their service era, discharge status, and geographic location are getting the care and have access to the resources they need, said Jeremy Butler, the organization’s CEO.

“We want to provide all veterans and their family members with easy access to the information and resources they need in order to safely navigate this crisis and whatever comes next,” he said.

Sean Ullman, IAVA’s chief operating officer, said when the original program was launched seven years ago, it was designed to utilize the organization’s position of strength, “as a high tech, high touch” entity to help veterans navigate the sometimes confounding route to resources in their time of need or difficulty.

“That assistance includes everything from helping veterans deal with everything from the federal bureaucracy to homelessness to employment issues to just offering them someone to talk to in their time of need,” Ullman said.

But after a change of leadership just over a year ago, the IAVA began to see that thanks to the generous donations of its friends and partners, it could dramatically increase the capacity of the program.

Ullman said IAVA saw a big increase in use in the first quarter, and “we imagine that need is going to continue to rise.”

“Right now our biggest issues are job loss and navigating benefits, related to coronavirus,” he said.

The revamped Quick Reaction Force represents a dramatic expansion of the IAVA’s capacity to offer its help to both veterans and their families.

“We’ve long been a leader in this space, but we believe the Quick Reaction Force now has an unlimited capacity to help veterans in need, no matter their resources and no matter their challenges,” Ullman said.

“And it’s not just about serving as a conduit to validated resources, we’re also going to be there for them, offering peer-to-peer support over the long term,” he added.

For additional information, visit the IAVA Quick Reaction Force website here or call 1-855-91RAPID.

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