David Segall, a United States Marine Corps veteran, “found myself in a new city without any support network at all” when he moved to Billings just before COVID hit. Segall recalls Blake Fuhriman, chairman of Veterans Navigation Network, “helped me get a gym membership, housing, and food” by connecting him with Adaptive Performance Center, Veterans Meat Locker, and other nonprofits. “The VNN really saved me,” Segall says.
The transition from military to civilian life presents challenges. Though numerous veteran organizations offer assistance, it’s hard to know where to go for what. That’s where the Veterans Navigation Network comes in.
Mike McManus, program coordinator for the VNN, says, “Veterans can be reluctant to seek help. They may know they need it, but don’t know where to turn.” The nonprofit served close to 300 Billings area vets in 2022 and is expanding its peer mentoring program, which is currently staffed by nine volunteers. “A lot of great programs work specifically with vets,” McManus adds. “Our goal is to create awareness and to help connect vets to the right programs or just a person who will listen.”
Related item: Billings Gazette