While the eyes of baseball fans across the world may be focused on the All-Star game in Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, a few miles away many area veterans are reaping the benefits of a gift from Major League Baseball and the Cincinnati Reds.
As an extension of MLB's Welcome Back Veterans initiative, MLB and the Reds, in conjunction with the nonprofit Tristate Veterans Community Alliance, unveiled upgrades to an existing space at the CityLink Center to create a new veterans reintegration center. The new center will help some of the thousands of veterans in the Greater Cincinnati area facilitate a successful transition and reintegration into the community through various resources, including financial planning, job readiness, peer coaches and referrals to qualified community organizations/services based on the needs of the veteran and his or her family.
The veterans center offers various resources including financial planning and job readiness preparation. The center also refers veterans and their families to other assistance services in the community.
While attending the dedication, VA Secretary Bob McDonald said "This reintegration center couldn't have come at a more important time. Our veterans have been doing some really heavy lifting for our country. We've been fighting a war for over 15 years. They've been defending our freedom, they have preserved our opportunity to prosper. And now, annually about 250,000 service members will be transitioning to civilian life.
"Having done this once before myself, I know it's not easy. There's a lot of trepidation, a lot of anxiety. And there's potential that those veterans could face unemployment, or even worse, homelessness. We at the VA have got to make sure that doesn't happen. It's through partnerships like this that we can do it."
McDonald also expressed his love of his hometown Reds saying "one of the downsides of accepting this role in Washington, D.C., is that I am not able to use my season tickets for Reds games."