PORTAGE COUNTY, Wis. (WAOW) — Groups from across Portage County are uniting ahead of the winter to make sure area veterans get the resources they need.
It can often be difficult to ask for help, especially for veterans who are re-integrating into civilian life.
But one father is willing to go the extra mile, making sure vets know there is help available - before its too late.
Marv Simcakowski started the Simmy Foundation in remembrance of his son, Jason - who died after becoming overmedicated returning to civilian life.
"He loved being a Marine, and he was so proud of serving his country," Simcakowski shared.
On Friday the foundation announced a partnership with Portage County, trying to reach as many veterans as possible and letting them know there is help available.
"It may be a case of a veteran lost the job and needs help with rent, or a homeless veteran where the homeless shelter cannot shelter them," said Michael Clemmons, the Wisconsin Veterans Service Director.
The goal of the Simmy Foundation is to directly provide those who served by connecting them with the services they need to navigate civilian life.
Especially if they've encountered hardships like homelessness or addiction.
"These mental health issues can put veterans at risk for homelessness and chronic unemployment," Simcakowski added.
In addition the Community Foundation of central Wisconsin presented the two groups with a $5,000 grant check to help them provide services to Portage County immediately.
"With funds provided by the Community Foundation of central Wisconsin we will work together to provide short-term crisis funding until longer term solutions are identified for veterans in need," Clemmons said.
"To see this less than a year later - this grant funded and the strong partnership with the county - it's just really rewarding," Jenny Riggenbach, of the Community Foundation, said. "This is the exact kind of work the foundation and our committees of citizens who make the decisions on our grants love- and we couldn't be more proud."
The two groups will work together to approve applicants they best see fit.
For more information on the Simmy Foundation - click here.
For more resources for veterans in the community - click here.