‘Battle Buddy’ program receives $68k grant

The PATH Foundation has awarded a $68,000 grant to Hero’s Bridge, a Fauquier based non-profit that specializes in meeting the needs of older veterans. The grant was awarded as a strategic initiative investment as it relates to the Foundation’s mission to strengthen the health and vitality of the community. Hero’s Bridge serves veterans in Rappahannock, Fauquier and Culpeper counties.

The grant specifically supports and strengthens Hero’s Bridge Battle Buddy Program, which pairs younger veterans and other vet-focused volunteers with older veterans in need. These Battle Buddies perform a basic screening that includes a needs assessment and quality of life scoring. Over a period of 12 months, Battle Buddies work to ‘bridge’ these elderly veterans to benefits and services that ultimately improve their quality of life score.

The grant provides for the hiring of Janelle Davenport as Battle Buddy Coordinator to focus on recruiting, training and directing volunteer Battle Buddies. Janelle comes from a military family and is a nurse with a strong background working with the elderly. Also joining Hero’s Bridge is Debbie Eisele who brings over 20 years of writing, outreach and communications experience. Debbie will be sharing the amazing stories of the Battle Buddy program with the local community. Additionally, she will be overseeing a complete renovation of the Hero’s Bridge website and outreach materials to better engage the community, volunteers and veterans in need.

PATH Foundation’s grant is also funding special training of Battle Buddies in the Community Health Worker model of care. This philosophy is based on the premise a certain population may be better served if their health worker is from the same community or culture. The Institute for Public Health Innovation will be providing special consulting services to integrate this vet-to-vet model of care into the Battle Buddy Program.

David Benhoff, Hero’s Bridge co-founder and board member explains, “The bond between veterans crosses all generations, war periods and branches of service. We are so excited to strengthen this groundbreaking program which we believe greatly benefits both groups of veterans.” Molly Brooks, president and co-founder shares, “The PATH Foundation has been so supportive with training and resources since our inception two years ago. We are most grateful for their financial support of this very special program.”

Christy Connolly, president and CEO of the PATH Foundation, added, “We’ve been considering ways to help our communities through community health workers, and the Hero’s Bridge Battle Buddy Program aligns well with initiatives we’ve researched. They are to be applauded for their innovation in helping veterans in our area.”

Please contact Hero’s Bridge at 540-993-6386 or mollybrooks@herosbridge1.org if you know of a veteran in need or if you would like to learn more about volunteer and support opportunities.

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