I snapped a picture of this quote on a plaque at Mission BBQ in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. This restaurant operates with a mission to honor soldiers, firefighters, police officers and first responders. At noon each day, the restaurant plays the national anthem − “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Standing with hands over hearts, no one there moves until the song is done. I stood in awe of those who lay down their lives to serve and protect us, and realized just how much they need our support, not only while serving, but after they are done.
In honor of Veterans Day here in Cherokee County, let me introduce you to Tim King, a man on a mission to honor and help our soldiers transition from military to civilian life. He founded the Cherokee Veterans Community (CVC) to help veterans and their families lead fulfilling lives by being a “one-stop shop” for essential veteran resources, and providing much needed Christ-centered support groups, all to promote successful reintegration.
Tim, a Marine Corps veteran with 10 years of service and two tours in Iraq, felt the pressures of transitioning into civilian life. This sparked a dream God placed in his heart to help his fellow soldiers. After a lot of research, and combining resources, the ministry launched at the beginning of this year. One of the major resources he discovered, OperationNotForgotten.com, provided CVC a model for support groups. The men-only group, facilitated by Tim and David Snyder (also a Marine and career EMT), meets 6:30-8 p.m. Thursdays at First Baptist Woodstock, Building A, 11905 Highway 92, Woodstock.
“I’ve seen men who didn’t know each other before start to relax and become open with their lives. Stories were shared that created bonding, trust and help to attending veterans. I’m honored to be a part of something so important and life-changing,” David said.
On Nov. 16, female, and family and friends, groups will begin meeting at the same time and location. Childcare is provided at no cost. The women’s group will be led by Kim Bise, a 30-year Air Force veteran. The family and friends group will be led by Tina Sosebee; although not military, she is trained to work with those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain Injury.
“The instant bond all of us have is great to see, and exactly how it was when we were in the military,” Tim said. “No matter the era we fought in, or branch we served, we all come together and connect instantly when we get together each week. The best part is when one of us opens up about something and others chime in. Together, we come up with solutions to the issues we face. CVC has formed a safe place where veterans have camaraderie and the opportunity to talk through struggles with a group of folks who understand.”
The vets of CVC live stronger standing shoulder to shoulder. The goal is to start support groups in every Cherokee County city, to meet the need of the more than 14,000 veterans living here. To make a donation to help with printing needs, or to learn about starting a new group, visit www.cherokeeveteranscommunity.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 678-494-2680.
By Susan Browning Schulz, contributing writer.