MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Tuesday in Alger County, the Munising Legion Post will host a significant Veteran Outreach Event organized by the Michigan Center for Rural Health’s I-Reach program.
Jim Yates, Veteran Outreach Coordinator, emphasizes is importance, saying, “In this rural area, where they’re spread out so much, a lot of land to cover. And in general, three might be a lot of veterans that are here, because they just didn’t want to be that well-connected. And so we’re trying to dig them out of the woods and make sure that they’re connected with their resources, and then they can go back to the woods and still get those resources.”
The event will take place at the Munising Legion Post tomorrow afternoon, starting at 1 p.m. EST, and will offer a variety of resources, including P.A.C.T. ACT eligibility, housing assistance, and fraud awareness. Veterans who bring proof of military service will receive a $20 gas card for attending.
Approximately 15 different organizations will be present until 5 p.m., and on Saturday, the outreach will continue at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital.
Jim Yates explained, “The Michigan Center for rural Health I-Reach Program stands for Improving Rural Enrollment Access to Healthcare for veterans. Basically trying to assist with connecting veterans and their families and caregivers up with benefits and resources that they may not be aware of…. Just trying to close that gap of awareness on benefits for veterans and their families.”
He also emphasizes the importance of addressing scams targeting veterans, especially with the new P.A.C.T. Act, which significantly expands veteran benefits and eligibility. Scammers are aware of these benefits and try to take advantage, so raising awareness about fraud is a key focus.
Regarding proof of military service for the gas card, Yates said, “We’re not really that picky on what type of proof that they show for military service. Just as long as they have something that shows they have served at some point, we’ll be good with that.”
The event is open to the public, with an encouragement for families, caregivers, or anyone interested in veterans’ resources. Yates emphasizes that the goal is to connect veterans with their earned benefits, as less than 50% of veterans are currently connected with their entitled benefits.
Michigan has a significant veteran population, ranking between 8th and 11th in the nation, and in some counties, like Ontonagon County, the per capita rate of veterans is quite high, reaching around 15% of the population. The nation’s per capita rate is around 2%.
The event in Alger County doesn’t have specific presentation times, allowing veterans and their families to arrive at their convenience. Additionally, on Saturday, Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is coordinating a county-wide resource fair.
The NMU Student Veterans and their coordinator, Mike Rutledge, will also be putting on an event this week: Ghosts of Lighthouse Point, set to take place at the Marquette Lighthouse.
For more information about the Michigan Center for rural health, visit:
For the Alger County Chamber of Commerce’s events calendar, visit:
For NMU student veteran services, visit: