This week we feature a guest post from Building Healthy Military Communities State Coordinator in Indiana, Kyle Wood
Indiana is different from the other states that are piloting Building Healthy Military Communities because there are no active duty installations in the state. We are heavily focused on the geographically dispersed military population. In our state, there are many programs in place to address service member needs. Rather than develop redundant programs, Indiana looks to augment those programs by providing additional resources for soldiers to access by way of Joint Services Support (JSS). We also prioritize making sure all community partners throughout the state know how to communicate their services to JSS.
Everyone is geographically dispersed, which requires Indiana to have a large pool of community, state, and federal resources to be spread out. Family assistant specialists and personal finance counselors need to be strategically placed in all five corners of the state in order to meet needs.
Although there are federal programs designed for specific branches such as Army National Guard, active duty and Reserve members do not know they can use National Guard family assistant specialists. This is an area we are pursuing additional education for service members. Further partnership with Purdue Cooperative Extension could assist in these and other efforts, and we look forward to engaging more with our counterparts at Purdue University.
Along with his position as the Indiana State Coordinator for Building Healthy Military Communities, Kyle Wood is a member of the Indiana Army National Guard as a UM-60M Blackhawk pilot. Being a current member of the military gives him a unique perspective on the struggles that geographically dispersed Service Members face on a day to day basis.