The Hampton Roads Chamber is unapologetically pro-business and unapologetically supportive of our military veterans and families. We are proud to serve this region as
an Impactful Advocate, Inspiring Ignitor, Regional Collaborator, and Powerful Economic Partner. The Hampton Roads Military Advisory Council (HRMAC) gathered again back in person for the quarterly updates. Over 40 industry specialists were in attendance as President & CEO Bryan Stephens kicked off the meeting, with a mission of the
HRMAC. “ I found through the years that probably one of the most valuable things we can do for them, is to communicate and to bring all of the resources together so that they have a one-stop-shop if you will, and understand that they have resources out there, and they have a menu that they can choose from to try to find the help that they need.”
Retired General Ron Lewis, Vice-Chair of the Hampton Roads Chamber Military Affairs, led the meeting and spoke on one of the many purposes of the HRMAC. “ We started this Hampton Roads Military Advisory Council in 2018. This is
all making sure that we solve all the issues that are important to the core work; active duty, transitioning service members, veterans, spouses, and take on other issues.”
Mercy Medical Angels will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in January 2022. After the unexpected passing of the former President & CEO Robb Alphaugh in January 2021, Mercy Medical Angles appointed James Godwin as the new President & CEO. Godwin spoke reintroduced services Mercy Medical Angles provides to military veterans/families on the Medicare front, “We provide free transportation in 3 different modes; train tickets, our volunteer pilots, and gas cards which is probably the
biggest hit here in the local area.” Godwin reported veteran numbers were slightly down due to COVID-19; however, they have rebounded tremendously.
The Barry Robinson Center started as an orphanage 87 years ago and today continues to provide a holistic environment that sets children, teens, and families on the path of healing with a third of the children coming from the Hampton Roads Region. Robert McCartney, CEO of the Barry Robinson Center reminded the council of initiatives the HRMAC goes by with the month of November coming up as "The Month of the Military Family". “Please take the opportunity to thank our families, we know that families all serve together, and they all serve differently."
The time for the Hampton Roads Region to hold a center for addiction, PTSD, and other forms of treatment is now. The Hampton Roads Workforce Council CEO Shawn Avery mentioned that the Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center is still running and has not stopped running, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Avery also announced that a new Veterans Employment Center will be opening up in Newport News City Center. Avery hopes to have the opening in mid-November and also mentioned the Military Spouse Economic Empowering Zone (MSEEZ) was voted #1 in the country. Their purpose is to connect military spouses with companies committed to hiring and Amanda Slosson is the Director of the MSEEZ.
The HRMAC will look to assemble again in mid-November 2021 and will continue to meet quarterly, continuing to bring the organizations and people who can best serve the military, military families, dependents, and the veterans in Hampton Roads. A great resource tool can be found on our website (here) where you will find various connections and information, all in benefit to military families, dependents, veterans, and those interested in joining our military.