TEMPLE - National non-profit Help Heal Veterans is expanding its mission after 40 years in business.
Help Heal Vets has one of four store fronts in the country in Temple, located at 2508 S 5th Street.
There are 17 to 18 million veterans in the nation who get care from something besides the VA, and that is why help hospitalized veterans has changed its name to Help Heal Vets.
The non-profit started in 1971 to help soldiers recovering from the Vietnam War.
One of the long-time Help Heal Vets members is retired Marine Alan Taylor.
"When I was on Guam and there was nothing else to do, the Help Hospitalized Veterans used to come around to our bunks and gave us puzzles and gifts and kits to work on while we were hospitalized and that was way back in 1972," Taylor said.
Taylor has been a member ever since.
Craft care specialist Dan Scott told Channel 6 news they made a conscious decision to expand the program in 2013.
Help Heal vets made the rebranding official Monday at their Temple storefront, including a ribbon cutting.
The non-profit hands out crafts for veterans, so they can things like a model car or make a piece of jewelry.
Marcie Clark, craft care specialist national advisor said the therapeutic crafts help vets through issues like post-traumatic stress – and helps them do something positive.
“We’re caring for all veterans in the community,” Clark said. “Homeless veterans, veterans in state veterans homes, military installations, military hospitals, everywhere there’s a veteran who served the nation.”
Clark said some veterans have told them the craft kits have saved their family and even their life.
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