America's Warrior Partnership (AWP) announced today the creation of a new branch in Alaska called the Alaska Warrior Partnership (AKWP). The focus of AKWP will be to proactively engage veterans, their family members, and caregivers to understand veterans' needs better and improve their quality of life.
"We are proud to have the Alaska Warrior Partnership supporting veterans locally," said Jim Lorraine, president and CEO of America's Warrior Partnership. "By connecting on a local level in a veteran's community, we can provide a one-size-fits-one approach, which is vital in providing a better quality of life and, ultimately, decreasing veteran suicide."
AKWP will apply AWP's Community Integration Model, a holistic, veteran-focused, community-led initiative to proactively connect and engage with all veterans in a given area to ensure they have access to all the quality resources and opportunities available in collaboration with their community. Coordinated services include recreational activities, volunteer opportunities and occasionally housing, employment, access to education, or healthcare available through community partners.
According to the US Census report, Alaska is home to an estimated 65,000 veterans. Approximately a third of that population resides outside Anchorage and other larger cities, in small rural towns and off-the-road-system remote villages. Veterans and their families have a plethora of resources for support and opportunities in Anchorage and the larger cities, but many, especially those outside these areas, are not aware of them or the benefits they have earned.
"Alaska Warrior Partnership is engaging with veterans and coordinating services across our large geographical area,'' said Alaskan Army Veteran and AKWP Program Lead Amanda Marr.
Marr has been meeting with veterans and building the community program infrastructure over the past few months. "We want a veteran in Aniak to know they are just as important and connected as a veteran in Anchorage, and we do this first and foremost by getting to know the veterans of Alaska; proactively reaching out to them where THEY are, and building trusted relationships through meaningful and holistic engagement."
According to a 2021 Department of Veteran Affairs report, the United States veteran population decreased 23 percent over the last twenty years, while the suicide rate increased by 35 percent. The VA estimates that approximately 17 veterans die by suicide per day. The Community Integration model ensures they connect with veterans in local communities and provides a pathway for resources and opportunities to improve quality of life, drastically decreasing these suicide rates.
For more information on America's Warrior Partnership and its Community Integration efforts in Alaska and across the country, subscribe to America's Warrior Partnership newsletter by visiting https://www.americaswarriorpartnership.org.