A non-profit group that helps veterans and their families is opening its national headquarters in Forest City with an open house today. The Family Alliance for Veterans of America, or FAVA, provides information, education, advocacy and support.

FAVA national chairwoman Rhonda Jordahl says many veterans either don’t know about or don’t want to take advantage of the numerous programs available to them. Jordahl says FAVA is there because there are so many gaps and sometimes veterans and their families don’t know where to turn.

Jordahl says when the organization gets a phone call, veterans are often in urgent need, and veterans and their families can be overwhelmed in searching the internet for resources and her organization can help streamline the process.

She says they can make one call or visit to FAVA and the organization will access its database of information to connect them to resources. FAVA also will follow-up later to make sure the resource worked and if any further assistance can be provided. Jordahl says they’ll make sure Iowa veterans are connected with their county veterans affairs directors.

She says Iowa is very lucky to have a veterans affairs director in each one of our 99 counties and her organization will be reaching out to support those county directors to make sure veterans have what they need. Jordahl says the organization will also go into communities with outreach programs, teaching people some of the problems for which they can be watchful.

She says they talk about signs and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, reintegrating soldiers after coming home, and suicide prevention. FAVA’s open house at the new headquarters in Forest City opens at 4 P.M.

By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City