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Green Zone Initiative is High Tech Site for Veterans

Green Zone Initiative is High Tech Site for Veterans

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A new web and social media site for veterans is gaining attention in Northern Nevada. It's called the Green Zone Initiative and it's a high-tech way to connect services to veterans and veterans to our community.

Hundreds of veterans return home to Nevada every year, and we welcome them with open arms. But after the welcome, the challenges begin. Veteran Troy Stormoen works for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He says there are services available to veterans in our community, but it's not always easy to find them.

"You start to wonder, Who can I connect with here in the community?" says Stormoen. "You know there are a lot of people who are interested, but it's nearly impossible to find those people."

Veterans have a higher rate of unemployment than other groups, and they have to re-adjust to civilian life. "We believe the returning vets and existing vets can be and should be viewed as enormous assets to our communities upon their return," said Caleb Cage of the Office of Veterans Services in Reno. 

Cage has been working on The Green Zone Initiative, a program that will provide an online place for veterans to locate what they need, whether it's help with education, health or even a job. "To communicate, to develop plans, to start meet-up groups, to show their services to the existing vets -- to really provide a place to connect," said Cage of the initiative. The project is funded through the Nevada Veterans License Plate Gift Account. Organizers are also raising money through grants and private donations.

Cage and other representatives of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services have been traveling around the state to introduce the Green Zone Initiative, and to ask veterans what it is they need. The project will include a social media site where veterans can pass along what they've learned to others.

Stormoen, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, remembers what it was like when he returned to civilian life. He knows others face challenges as they join the workforce. "You're used to dealing with a different type of tempo and a different type of seriousness so people don't appreciate that level of intensity at a regular job," he said.

The Governor's office is supporting the Green Zone Initiative, and is hoping it will help fill gaps in service that may exist. Stormoen is excited to offer tangible solutions to returning veterans.

"We have people who have done some really heavy lifting for this country, on behalf of this country, and we really want to find a way to take that energy, that enthusiasm and make it a benefit for the community, not isolate them and prevent them from reaching their level of success," Stormoen said.

The project is getting attention from other states and could serve as a national model for connecting veterans to community services. is under development, but you can visit the site and sign up for e-mails now.

Written by Jennifer Burton 

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