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Ohio Attorney General DeWine awards Veterans' Outreach $6,000 grant
Caitlin Steinberg, staff writer
On Friday, March 9 Veterans’ Outreach finally received a much anticipated grant of $6,000 from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in recognition of its outstanding service to veterans and the greater Ohio community.
Along with other Ohio veterans charities, Veterans’ Outreach was informed of the award on Veterans’ Day of 2011. Teri Ely, Executive Director, remembers the day vividly.
“I was quite taken aback,” Ely said. “In this business the Attorney General is the ultimate authority. It was a wonderful surprise!”
Ironically, when first informed of the award, Ely thought it a phone prank. “I came to work very early on Veterans’ Day and was surprised to find a message from the Attorney General’s office saying we were going to be given an award,” Ely said. “I took down the number thinking it was a prank. I mean, who’s going to call and leave a message like that that on the phone? That’s not very nice on Veteran’s Day!” laughed Ely.
The press release published by Attorney General DeWine on Veterans’ Day of 2011 stated “the grants were funded by proceeds recovered in the investigation of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.”
“As we take time this week to honor the men and women who have served in our armed forces, I am pleased that we were able to recover donations originally intended to help veterans and direct them to charities helping them,” Atty General DeWine said.
After weeks of paperwork and contracts, Tammy Puff, the North Central Ohio Regional Director visited the VO’s corporate office in Struthers, Ohio to drop off the check.
Bob Julian, the VO’s program service director, and Teri Ely among other VO staff, met with Regional Director Puff, discussing the VO’s operations and goals to help veterans nationwide.
“[DeWine’s office] evaluated numerous non-profits within the state and narrowed [their selection] down after research and calls,” Julian said. “They were very cooperative and Tammy Puff handled the whole process very well. She stayed on it to where we could get the money in a timely manner.”
Julian further commented on the level of professionalism and success of Veterans’ Outreach’s interactions with the DeWine office.
“They are progressive and interactive in regards to their [staff],” Julian said. “[Puff] was happy to see a spreadsheet detailing how we track our services and how we operate with individuals. Vets get help as soon as they come in.”
In accordance with VO policy, each dollar spent of the $6,000 grant will be recorded and delivered to DeWine’s office. The money is to be used to further the cause of veterans.
Teri commented on the important question of “how will the money be used?”
“As a vet comes to us with a specific, immediate need, whether it be shelter, rent, a utility that’s near shut off, repairing a car, or fuel to get to a medical appointment, I will track the $6,000,” Ely said.
“Puff was surprised at our attention to detail and records!” Ely said. “People like to see where their money is going and we certainly show them.”
In addition to DeWine’s monetary donation, the staff at Veterans’ Outreach also acknowledges the recognition and credibility that the grant has provided.
With DeWine’s public statement of award, the VO looks forward to expanding the services offered to veterans across the nation.
Julian commented on what he sees as a bright future for relations between the Attorney General DeWine and Ohio veterans. “They can really start helping people in terms of cooperating with other agencies to help out veterans, or making the process of receiving benefits through the VO or other charities.”
“This award will make a big impact with the other agencies [the VO] deals with,” Julian said. “This is just great for our future.”
The excitement in Veterans’ Outreach’s office and in the voices of its volunteers as well as staff is near palpable. Such an award sets the VO in a category above the rest and allows the staff to continue doing what they do best- serving our honorable vets.
Having been awarded such a prestigious grant based solely upon interviews and recommendations- no office visit necessary- it is easy for contributors and volunteers to agree with Puff’s statement when she said, “your reputation preceded you and I didn’t even need to visit!”
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