New South Bend vet program one of few in country

A new program is helping area veterans, and it’s only in two other cities.

She’s a St. Joseph County Commissioner, but cleaning teeth is also how Deborah Fleming helps the community.

“I am a dentist and this is one of the ways I can help,” Fleming says.

Her usual tools are on a dental table and requests for help come in the form of a call.She’s a volunteer with the Vet’s Community Connections Program. South Bend launched it today. Veterans and active service members who dial 311 can be connected to volunteers like Fleming.

“They will call and ask questions and we can help them and guide them in the right direction,” she says.
So far more than 50 volunteers have signed up. They’ll guide veterans to service providers — some of whom offer discounted services.

It’s an effort South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says matters to veterans like himself.

“Coming back into civilian life from active duty is complicated and disorienting. It even was for me and I knew exactly what I was coming home to,” he says. “This is not another website on how to get your benefits, this is a human being at the other end of a phone call.”

Real people to help veterans move from service member to civilian.

“My goal in life has always been to serve people which is why I became a dentist and that is a way to you know serve, serve your country,” Fleming says.

This article was originally published here.