National Service Serving Military and their families and Veterans in Montana


The Montana Campus Compact VISTA Project also had a VISTA member help to develop the Valley Veteran Service Center in Hamilton Montana. This center is to help foster, encourage and promote aid the procurement of benefits available to the veteran. This center acts as a “one stop shop” because there is a nationally certified service officer to file VA health and other benefit claims as well as provide the veteran with information about other services the veteran is eligible. The center continues to run mainly on RSVP volunteers and other community volunteers and is funded by donations.

Cascade County Foster Grandparent Program has 4 Foster Grandparents serving with the Malmstrom Air Force Base Child Development Center in Greeat Falls, helping children to reach their age-appropriate skill level.

Missoula Aging Service RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), Foster Grandparent Program, and Senior Corps volunteers who are also Veterans have partnered with the University of Montana Social Work Department for a unique World War II Oral History project. The volunteers have each been paired up with UM students to tell their experiences, events, and remembrances while in military service during WWII. Once the stories are completed, the students will gift families of these retired Veterans with the results – a rich legacy of significant events, intimate experiences and historical references during a turbulent period for families and our nation.

Helena RSVP currently partners with the Veteran’s Affairs Healthcare System, the Montana Military Museum and the National Guard Thrift Store located at Fort Harrison, Montana to serve military personnel and veterans. Eleven RSVP volunteers have served 1,876 hours in the Physical Therapy and Pharmacy Departments, Weight Management Programs and Outpatient Services. Volunteers also provide entertainment for special events, perform receptionist duties for the hospital and drive Veteran’s Administration Vans (VAV) all over the State to transport veterans to the hospital for medical treatment. 12 RSVP volunteers have served 1,681 hours during the same period acting as docents and assistants for the Montana Military Museum. Twenty-four volunteers have served 6,120 hours in the National Guard Thrift Store volunteering in positions such as clerks, stockers and administrative aids. The money generated from sales at the Thrift Store is donated to various programs which provide services to veterans and active duty personnel and their families. Funds donated provide personal comfort items for patients at the VA Hospital, such as toiletries, newspapers, phone cards, etc. Sizeable donations have been made to the Liberty House which is located at Fort Harrison. This facility provides a place for patient’s families to reside while their loved ones are treated at the hospital. RSVP actively recruits veterans and has made several presentations at Fort Harrison Board of Directors for the Montana Military Museum and the VA Hospital.

In Roundup RSVP has volunteers who drive the DAV Van. They transport Veterans to Billings or Fort Harrison in Helena, wherever the vet needs to go from Roundup. The van is parked in Roundup at the Sheriff's office and it is a wonderful service for the vet as it is quite a distance for them to go for medical treatment. One volunteer who has been very faithful since the van was placed. He puts in lots of hours, some months over 100 hours.

In Glendive RSVP partners with the Eastern Montana Veteran's Home. Volunteers assist residents with bingo, activities, hold a monthly birthday party, entertain the residents, and run the gift shop.

Yellowstone County RSVP serves Veterans through the HUB Day Shelter for Homeless and the annual Veterans Stand Down. Several RSVP volunteers are Veterans themselves, serving in the Detention Facility and TEAM Reentry Program.

In Flathead County RSVP volunteers (20) serve at the Montana Veterans Home as class instructors, companions and friends, and entertainers. The Project Director has given presentations at local VFW Post meetings. Several of the volunteers are veterans that are actively involved in their local VFW post, and they proudly wear their veteran pins, caps, clothing etc., along with their RSVP Pins. Veterans also serve on the advisory council.

Cascade County RSVP supports Veterans in several ways: 8 volunteers drive the DAV vans to Fort Harrison from Great Falls. One of the volunteers is a leader who coordinates all the volunteers for the region, including RSVP and non RSVP volunteers throughout North Central MT; 1 volunteer works at the Veteran's Administration Building in Great Falls doing office type work which includes calling Veteran's to remind them of their appointments; 5 volunteers work with the MT Veteran's Memorial. These volunteers do custodial care and maintenance at the Memorial, as well as assist with mailings, and serve on the Board; several volunteers work at the Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum. These volunteers provide historical information about past and current military operations in North Central MT; 30 volunteers that work with other non-RSVP volunteers at two of the local VFW Posts to prepare care packages that are serving overseas for active military members around holidays; 1 of the RSVP Volunteer Coordinators has an agreement with the Service Officer with the local Veterans Affairs Division to provide information to RSVP Volunteers and clients about benefits that are available to Veterans through the monthly newsletter. In addition this person provides information about RSVP and services that are offer to their clients as he meets with them. There are also posters and RSVP brochures/applications at the two VA locations in Great Falls; Volunteers provide administrative support at the pharmacy on Malmstrom Air force Base and they provide services to active and retired members of the military; RSVP also has a reciprocal relationship with the Family Support Services on Malmstrom Air Force Base to provide information of any volunteer opportunities. It is sent out Base-wide. The Base makes referrals of recent retirees that are seeking volunteer opportunities in the area; many homeless veterans are served meals by RSVP volunteers at the local Rescue Mission (homeless shelter). There are several veterans that receive services from the Center for Mental Health, which is an RSVP work station as well.

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