Honoring the past: Team Robins recognizes veterans’ sacrifices

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • Robins Public Affairs

Nationwide, Veterans Day is a time to honor past and present military service members.

However, at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, one day is not enough.

The sentiment toward veterans is summed up best with the popular local slogan, “Every Day in Middle Georgia Is Armed Forces Appreciation Day”.

Robins leadership operates with that mindset when it comes to ongoing support of veterans throughout the year.

“The men and women who served our nation deserve our unwavering thoughts, gratitude and continuous support, because all of the daily freedoms we enjoy were paid by their sacrifices,” said Col. Rosalie Duarte, 78th Air Base Wing vice commander.

In recognition of the holiday, Duarte visited the Georgia Veterans Education Career Transition Resource Center in Warner Robins, Georgia, Nov. 10.

This was her first visit to the center since joining Team Robins in June. She wanted to see what the VECTR center provides to local veterans.

“At Robins we are a family and you take care of family,” said Duarte. “Transitioning from the military to the civilian sector can be challenging, but veterans do not have to do this alone. The people at the center can help translate their military skills to gainful civilian employment.”

The VECTR center serves veterans and their families through educational coaching, workforce training, financial and legal assistance, as well as housing.

“Robins Air Force Base is probably our biggest supporter,” said Patricia Ross, chief operating officer, VECTR center. “Not only do they send us individuals that are looking to transition from the military and are a part of our classes, but they offer us contingency dorm space so we are literally able to bring folks from all over the world to come to our programs here and hopefully convince them to stay in Central Georgia and fill some of our high demand jobs.”

Robins leadership is also concerned about other aspects of a veterans’ life.

As such, offering convenient medical care is another way to honor those who have given so much for all of us.

In July, Robins celebrated the opening of the new Carl Vinson Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic inside the 78th Medical Group.

The clinic allows the Carl Vinson VA staff to provide primary care and mental health services for an additional 2,200 veterans who live and work in Middle Georgia.

Houston County is one of the most veteran populated counties in the 49-county catchment for the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center.

“Partnering with the VA clinic has strengthened our community by bringing healthcare closer to our veterans who work on base and live near Robins,” said Col. Dale Harrell, 78th MDG commander. “We are working smarter to maximize our resources while integrating innovative ways to deliver healthcare services for our veteran population.”

A new 40,000 square foot clinic is planned for the Warner Robins and Perry area, but it will not be operational for at least three years.

During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic, Team Robins and its leadership worked through the challenges created by the disease to ensure veterans could still use services such as the VA outpatient clinic, and also the Robins Base Exchange and the Commissary. Veterans with a VA Veteran Health Identification Card have access to these facilities.

“We’re here for our veterans, especially when times are difficult,” Duarte said. “They are forever a part of our Team Robins family.”

(Editor’s Note: Col. Rosalie Duarte comes from a family of veterans. Her father served 23 years in the U.S. Navy. Her husband served six years on Trident submarines. The colonel’s brother-in-law, sister-in-law, cousins and a niece all served in the Armed Forces)