February 09, 2021 @ 12:00am

Veterans Hit Hard During COVID-19 Pandemic Supported With Online Resources

Many Wisconsin Veterans, many of which are suffering from service-related injuries, are struggling with changes due to pandemic and in need of services

While the COVID19 pandemic has impacted all of us, especially hit hard have been our Veterans. Many were already suffering from service-related injuries or being challenged with mental health issues and limited incomes.

During the fall season of 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic flared up across the United States with an increased wave of new cases and deaths throughout the civilian and Veteran communities.


ESI’s through its Keep Wisconsin Warm Cool Fund Heat for Heroes campaign initiative has been called upon to help an unprecedented increase in struggling Veterans during this COVID crisis by providing emergency energy and housing assistance. This past year alone, the Heat and Housing for Heroes assisted over 4,207 households. Together with the generosity of the KWWCF – HFH donors and other funds being leverage $811,631 in crisis assistance were provided to meet the unmet needs of our heroes.

According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) website, as of mid-November, there had been over 86,000 cases of Covid-19 in the Veteran community throughout the United States, with over 4,200 of those cases resulting in death. Wisconsin saw over 2,300 cases of Covid-19 with over 45 of those cases resulting in death.

Based on a 2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, approximately 61% of all Veterans are over the age of 65. That means over 11.7 million Veterans are considered high risk when it comes to Covid-19 infection, in fact, a staggering 80% of all total Covid-19 deaths are those of people aged 65 and over.

The William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, WI adheres to the suggested VA Covid-19 guidelines set forth by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including wearing masks when around other people, practicing social distancing of at least six feet, and frequent hand washing. Veterans should also pay close attention to their daily health, being alert for possible Covid-19 symptoms including but not limited to fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, and congestion or runny nose.


It is recommended that Veterans contact their local VA facility immediately should they experience any of these symptoms. VA medical centers are being cautious as to who is allowed to enter their facilities, as they require pre-screening for all visitors. While many area VA centers do not allow walk-in or face-to-face services at this time, they are able to provide online and telephone services. Check with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs for the latest information on your local VA center offerings.

Along with health concerns, Veterans in the U.S. are facing a relatively high unemployment rate of 6.8% as of October 2020. While there has been a steady, monthly decline since the April 2020 peak of 14.8% unemployment rate for veterans, it is still high when compared to the 4% average rate during the October months of the past four years.

Many industries in Wisconsin and throughout the nation have struggled during the pandemic, resulting in business closures and workers looking for new jobs, and having troubles with paying their rent and energy bills. Paul Rickert, Chief of Community Relations/PAO at William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital said that their hospital’s employees have provided Covid-19 related care to over one thousand Veterans.

Area Veterans also have access to Telephone care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling the Nurse Triage line at 888-598-7793. Additionally, the hospital’s Suicide Prevention Team has been reaching out to all patients who either screen or test positive for Covid-19 to assess adjustment and coping during these difficult times. Veterans struggling with mental health can also call the 24/7 Veterans crisis line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

Since being founded in 1996, the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool fund has helped over 13,100 musicians in need, and that number is certain to increase through the 2020-2021 winter months. http://heat4heroes.com 


About the author:
Post tags: