Chesterfield County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey speaks at the May 25 Fort Gregg-Adams Civilian Military Council luncheon.
Chesterfield played host to the Fort Gregg-Adams Civilian Military Council's quarterly luncheon May 25 at the Chesterfield County Airport.
The Fort Gregg-Adams (formerly Fort Lee) Civilian Military Council is a collection of several municipalities across Central Virginia that work directly with the military installation to help current and former soldiers become acclimated to civilian life with several programs and opportunities within their respective communities.
Communities represented during the council gathering included Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George counties; and the cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Hopewell.
Member leaders from Fort Gregg-Adams were also on hand for the gathering, including Gen. Mark Simerly, U.S. Army Senior Commander of Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Gregg-Adams; and Col. James Hoyman, Garrison Commander of Fort Gregg-Adams.
With over 90 attendees present, it was the largest council gathering since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“The CMC luncheon allows us as regional and local government leaders the opportunity to strengthen our partnership with Fort Gregg-Adams,” said Kevin Carroll, chair of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors and its Matoaca District representative. “It’s very important for us to get together as decision makers, and decision makers for the military, to exchange information and update. I think all of us in the region want to support our military individuals and families, and make sure we’re meeting their needs – whether it be academic, housing, or social in nature … we want them to have the quality of life in this region. Chesterfield does not take our civil military relations for granted.”
Emily Ashley, director of Chesterfield’s Citizen Information and Resources (CIR) Department, reminded patrons of several programs the county offers military families and veterans.
According to regional data, there are about 40,000 veterans that live in Greater Richmond.
Board of Supervisors Chair Kevin Carroll addresses attendees at the Fort Gregg-Adams CMC's quarterly luncheon.
CIR’s role is to ensure residents are engaging with opportunities the county provides through a multitude of programs, events and activities. The department also works closely with regional partners to connect residents with additional resources.
One such program highlighted during the luncheon was the Virginia Identify, Screen for Suicide Risk and Refer Services Program, or VISR.
Ashley explained that the VISR program aims to decrease suicide rates amongst active and retired military veterans through increased access to suicide prevention programs offered at the state and local level.
“When a person calls in and needs additional wrap-around services, they are also screened for suicide prevention,” she said. “We are then able to pass a warm hand-off to the additional care they may need.”
Chesterfield is slated to become a certified VISR Community with the state by September.
Another program championed by the county is the state’s Military Medic and Corpsman Program, which takes military members looking to transition out of the military service, and through different agreements with area hospitals, allows them to transfer into a healthcare field.
“It’s the first of its kind,” Ashley said. “Not only will they be trained to get some certification to be nurses and healthcare providers, but also work with the HVAC systems and provide leadership.”
Ashley noted the county also works with other organizations to address veteran homelessness, healthcare services and job placement to help acclimate these military members to civilian life in Chesterfield.
“There are many people doing great things, but how do we connect everyone together so that we can use these finite resources for the greater good,” she added. “We want to make sure that we have vibrant, robust programs.”
This article was written by J. Elias O'Neal, public information officer for the Chesterfield Department of Constituent and Media Services