'Felt Called': Group Helps Disabled Veterans
Michael Dorman "felt he had been called" to do someting to help other less-fortunate veterans.
After retiring from the Coast Guard in 1999, he worked as a general contractor. But he said he wanted to do something for veterans. He founded a group called Military Missions in Action in 2007.
The group does basic home repair and makes much-needed upgrades for disabled veterans throughout North Carolina.
"I revisited my life in the military," Dorman said of the program, "and I felt I'd been called to do this, to do something more."
The group, based in Fuquay-Varina, has already helped one such veteran, and it has started working on its second project in the Sandhills area.
Many veterans face a long wait to receive help through federal agencies such as Veterans Affairs.
"The system is just overwhelmed with the number of disabled veterans that are coming back from the war right now," Dorman said.
When he called Veterans Affairs to see if there was a need for an organization to help disabled veterans, he was told by an employee, "If you did 100 projects a month for 12 months, you still couldn't catch up."
The latest project for Military Missions in Action is repairing the home of a local Air Force veteran. Dorman and volunteers from the Pinehurst Methodist Men's Club and the Methodist Church in Fuquay-Varina are fixing the insulation under the mobile home and adding underpinning to provide better insulation for the home.
They are also updating two bathrooms, building a deck and stairs, adding a coating to the roof to prevent leaks and insulating water pipes. The Pinehurst Methodist Women are providing lunch for the volunteers.
Terry McDaniel, of Southern Pines, one of the volunteers, said his family's military background and the fact that Military Missions in Action is such a new organization were both factors that inspired him to lend a hand.
Bruce Carlson, of Whispering Pines, and Jack Mahan, of Pinehurst, said the Pinehurst Methodist Men's club gets them involved with many community service projects, including repairing hurricane damage in Bay St. Louis, Miss., and helping fix another church in Siler City.
Military Missions in Action came to the Sandhills in December 2008. Volunteers repaired the home of the widow and child of a fallen veteran who lost his life to post-traumatic stress disorder. The organization made basic repairs to the home to get it into livable condition for the family.
Military Missions in Action completed its first project in Whiteville, at the home of a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Although physically he had nothing wrong with him," Dorman said, "the veteran had come back from the war with the mental capacity of a 10-year-old."
The veteran, his wife and two young children were living in a house with a leaky roof. The organization raised money and recruited volunteers to repair the roof.
For disabled veterans. the process of applying for aid is lengthy. This is a huge problem when veterans have leaking roofs, no insulation for their homes, or other pressing needs.
"The organization is a stop-gap," said Tim Virgilio, who has worked with Mike Dorman to get veterans in need in touch with Military Missions in Action. "It meets an immediate need while the process and paperwork is gone through. It's really a tremendous help."
In addition to providing home repair and improvements for veterans, the organization also provides for troops currently overseas with the "Fill the Footlocker" program. Military Missions in Action collects various items to send to deployed soldiers including DVDs, popcorn, sunscreen, and fresh-baked cookies.
"Anyone can give us a name and address of someone overseas, and once a month we'll send them a package, at no cost," Dorman said.
More information about the organization is available online, at www.militarymissionsinaction.org.
Contact Laura Eddy by e-mail at email@example.com.
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