According to staff reports from The Tribune
LEEDS – Birmingham-based Priority Soldier and Leeds-based Moton Community Center are inviting the community to help raise funds for the project this Labor Day weekend, Saturday September 3, during a event “Tribute to our heroes and our community”.
The idea of a Tri-County Veterans Services and Community Center (www.tricountyvetcenter.org) was a “labor of love” for Birmingham-based Priority Soldier and the Leeds-based Moton Community Centre. It will be a full day of festival activities capped off with a Southern Soul Blues concert.
The event will take place at the Moton Community Center in Leeds.
In the morning, starting at 11 a.m., there will be family fun on the grounds, including bouncy houses and slides, horseback riding, local vendors, and a free food giveaway between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m.
At 2 p.m., while the family fun continues, Priority Soldier will host a mental health forum in the library at the Moton Community Center in recognition of September being National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The Forum will feature speakers from the National Suicide Prevention Council, Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training, and Priority Soldier. Veterans who attend are invited to share their stories of their service and mental health with Priority Soldier.
In the evening, from 4 p.m., everyone is invited to attend a Southern Soul Blues concert, conducted by Birmingham native Mose Stovall, and featuring other artists like Cadillac Man, Mrs. Fe Fe, Ken Ore and Sweet Lou. There will be food trucks with a wide variety of offerings, and customers are asked to bring their own tents and lawn chairs. No outside food will be allowed. Tickets are $20 per person and must be purchased in advance. Proceeds will go to the Tri-County Veterans Services and Community Center.
The Tri-County Veterans Services and Community Center Project was born out of the need to help the more than 60,000 veterans and their families in Jefferson, Shelby and St. Clair counties. Many of these veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, homelessness or addictions, or they and their families need help obtaining their military benefits and other services. Unfortunately, Alabama has a veteran suicide rate that, at 18 percent, is higher than the national average and significantly higher than the civilian average. Both Priority Solider and the Moton Community Center see this as a tragedy that needs to be addressed.
The vision for the centre, proposed by the non-profit organization Priority Soldier, which addresses critical issues affecting veterans and their families, will provide the following services to veterans on-site in Leeds:
- Mental health support for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
- Counseling with licensed and trained counselors and psychiatrists.
- Administrative support for veterans and families of veterans applying for Veterans Administration benefits.
- Support and guidance in obtaining housing for homeless veterans.
The Moton Center Educational Foundation runs the Moton Community Center in Leeds. Representatives of the Moton Center Educational Foundation and Priority Soldier Inc. believe that positioning the Tri-County Veteran Services Center on the same site as the Moton Community Center will provide veterans with additional opportunities to participate in their community through mentorship, supervision, vocational training, etc. This will help them reintegrate and become fully functioning and healthy members of their community. The new community center will have spaces for after-school activities and children’s summer programs, spaces for seniors’ activities, and recreational facilities that can be used by veterans or anyone else in the community. , as well as meeting and event spaces on the premises.
All donations for Veterans and the Tri-County Community Center are welcome. If you can’t participate in the Tribute to our heroes and our community event, you can still support the cause. To donate, click the Eventbrite link, select “Tickets” and choose “Donate.” Or you can donate at www.tricountyvetcenter.org.