Governor Ducey Dedicates More Than $26 Million in Funding For Veterans, First Responders Programs

Published by The Bee News

December 22, 2022

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 Governor Doug Ducey today announced more than $26 million in funding for critical programs that support the mental health and well-being of veterans and first responders.

“In Arizona, we work everyday to give back to our selfless veterans and first responders who have given us so much,” said Governor Ducey. “We’ve removed barriers for these brave men and women to succeed while increasing options available to care for their wellbeing. These investments build upon our actions to connect veterans and first responders with mental health services.”

The investments are directed to three programs that work to support veterans and first responders:

Heal the Hero Foundation: $20 million to support its work to mitigate the mental health impacts facing first responders and expand its programs to more than 8,000 first responders. This funding brings the total investment this year to $40 million. Heal the Hero Foundation offers technology-based mental health support—along with community education, research and training—for veterans, first responders and abuse survivors. The funding will help support the foundation’s programs for mental resilience and wellness.

“Arizona’s communities rely on first responders in their worst moments, and our programs help Arizona’s first responders be their best in those moments,” said Joe Holmes, CEO of Heal the Hero Foundation. “We are grateful to Governor Ducey for this incredible investment in the wellbeing of our first responders.”

Boulder Crest Foundation: $1.8 million to expand the nonprofit’s programs that help first responders process post-traumatic stress, as well as operations and outreach work. Boulder Crest Arizona is a nonprofit organization that serves Arizona combat veterans and their family members, and first responders who are struggling with a range of mental health challenges. The funding will support the expansion of the “Struggle Well” training program and the nonprofit’s posttraumatic growth academy.

“We know our veterans and first responders are heroes, but it doesn’t make them superhuman,” said Ken Falke, founder and chairman of Boulder Crest Foundation. “They are often confronted with mental health challenges when they return from service. We’re pleased to work with Governor Ducey in providing much needed support for our nation’s heroes.”

Unite Us: $4.7 million to support the work of Unite Us to support vulnerable veterans including reducing recidivism among incarcerated veterans who are nearing reentry. Unite Us provides the digital platforms, experience, and resources in this effort, with expertise in both the veteran population and criminal justice system. Unite Us will work with key agencies such as Arizona Department of Veteran Services (ADVS), Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry (ADCRR), and the Department of Economic Security (DES) on this program.

“We’re proud to contribute to Arizona’s ecosystem of support to veterans and their families,” Taylor Justice, co-founder and president of Unite Us. “Thank you to Governor Ducey for his leadership in reducing recidivism and making Arizona a veteran-friendly state.”

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