The mission of WNYHeroes is to provide veterans, members of the armed services, and the widows and children of deceased veterans with access to essential services, financial assistance and resources that support their lives and sustain their dignity.
Founded in 2007 by U.S. Army veteran Chris M. Kreiger and community activist Dionne Kane, WNYHeroes is an IRS 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization serving the needs of Western New York's veterans and their families.
Through direct experience, WNYHeroes has identified substantial gaps in post-combat care that must be addressed to enable veterans and their families to regain stability and health in their personal and professional lives.
Primary challenges and WNY Heroes' goals to address them:
- Disabled veterans wait an average of six months to receive disability benefits and services, causing unnecessary financial, physical and emotional hardship on them and their families.
Goal: WNYHeroes provides monetary assistance to bridge the gap and help alleviate the impact of financially based post-combat challenges.
- Without a strong support system, many veterans are at high risk for emotional, physical and social hardship, often resulting in issues like substance abuse, homelessness, chronic unemployment and familial breakdown.
Goal: WNYHeroes provides veterans and their families with access to organizations supporting health and housing needs, while also offering family care services through simple-yet-essential gestures such as delivering food, holiday gifts and school supplies to veterans' children.
It is the vision of WNY Heroes to create a centralized resource to meet the needs of veterans and their families through collaborations with partnering community organizations. Partner organizations will provide direct support or serve as bridge organizations for physical and mental health, financial, legal and workforce development opportunities, and they will either house corporate offices on-site or provide on-site satellite offices.
Partnering organizations are: WNY Heroes, Mental Health Association of Erie County, WNY Veterans Homeless Housing Coalition, Horizon Health Services and BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. An advisory board comprised of the CEOs of the partnering organizations, community business leaders and local philanthropic foundations is currently under development to oversee this initiative.
To learn more about the issues facing U.S. veterans and WNY Heroes, see the Readers Digest article entitled "How Our Government is Failing Our Veterans" online at www.rd.com.