Vet group begins meetings

Polk County Battle Buddies will have monthly gatherings

DALLAS — Veterans helping veterans.

That’s what the organizers of the new Polk County Battle Buddies veterans’ support group hope will happen after it begins meeting this month.

Battle Buddies will hold its first monthly gathering Monday at 6 p.m. at West Valley Hospital, 525 SE Washington St., Dallas.

A partnership between the local chapters of Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, the group will be modeled after one of the same name in Salem.

Co-organizer Wayne Crowder said he’s heard that there could be as many as 8,000 veterans living in Polk County. Many could benefit from a group like this, he said.

Crowder, formerly with Serving Our Veterans At Home (SOVAH), said the idea is to give veterans a safe place to talk about their lives and struggles with others who understand their situation.

A meal will be provided during the first hour to allow veterans to get to know each other.

“We want to have a meal that they can share,” Crowder said. “There’s nothing easier for a conversation to start than a plate of food.”

The second hour is dedicated to group discussion.

“They can just talk about their daily lives,” Crowder said.

He added co-organizers Beth Lillibridge and Mary Smith are doing the behind-the-scenes work to get the group off the ground.

Crowder said after the first few months organizers may decide to meet more often than once a month. It depends on what those who attend would like to see.

“The need is definitely there,” Crowder said.

A helping hand

What: Polk County Battle Buddies

Where: West Valley Hospital’s conference room, 525 SE Washington St.

When: Third Monday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m.

For more information: Beth Lillibridge, 503-480-6254 or Mary Smith, 503-580-8001.

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