Rally Point 6 is a local and innovative service program and resource center for Servicemembers, veterans and their families expected to launch later this year. As "The Ranger" reported earlier, it will be a "one-stop-shop" that will house community based care, important resources and support in one convenient location.
Rally Point 6 stands firmly by its motto of "On the path forward, we've got your back."
Now there's another entity that embraces the motto, too. The Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Warrior and Family Support has publicly supported the project's concept, mission and vision.
Representatives from the Joint Chiefs recently traveled to the local area to share Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey's vision of bringing together communities to provide support to Servicemembers, veterans and their families. Col. Anthony Henderson, Special Assistant to Dempsey, spoke to business and nonprofit leaders at the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Forum gathering on Feb. 13 in Tacoma.
Henderson's message was straightforward.
"There are three transitions going on," he said. "The withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, a subsequent change in the size of the U.S. military due to the drawdown, with a large number of military that will be transitioning into jobs and education, and those who are coming home and reconnecting back into society."
Henderson and his team travel extensively around the country to help motivate communities to come together to help people find their next missions.
"We believe the solution is at the local and community level," Henderson said. "Our Servicemembers will be coming home to find their way and their purpose. They may ask themselves, where is my purpose? How does my mission continue?"
Henderson believes Washington State and Joint Base Lewis-McChord have some extra-special opportunities, particularly with the support and implementation of projects like Rally Point 6.
"This is the next generation, and the decision of whether they can be great is your decision," Henderson said. "Show them what you have to offer ... Our vision for Washington is that it will become a leader in articulating to the rest of the country, ‘...this is how you do it.'"
Anne Sprute, veteran, CEO of Rally Point 6 and director of the Unfinished Mission, echoed Henderson's comments.
"Veterans in the community want a ‘hand up' and to get to the next mission," she said. "The enemy forces include such things as unemployment, homelessness, family instability and more. How do we overcome and defeat the enemy? We see it as a part of the ‘sea of goodwill.' By engaging the community, we can guide them to the next objective. By working seamlessly with JBLM, we can implement the correct services."
Sprute took the message even further.
"We have a room of leaders here today that have the ability to be a part of the process," she said.
Sprute went on to say that a major part of the Rally Point 6 service center will be "peer navigators" who will follow Servicemembers and veterans all the way through the process and ensure that they connect with the right organizations to meet their needs.
"Rally Point 6 will make sure that they meet the next objective, with the community rallying behind them and walking shoulder to shoulder with them," she said.
Conference patrons were given a rousing call to action and learned about ways that they can participate with resources, funding, championing and promoting the mission, educating other organization's leaders, networking, engaging others to join the team and volunteering.
Guest speaker Linda Nguyen, CEO of Workforce Central, spoke to the employment side of the project, and touted her vision for Rally Point 6.
"We want to create a seamless transition and have the preparation needed to get to employment immediately," she said.
Nguyen introduced special guest speaker Ben Machiel, a veteran who separated from the military about a year ago after 14 years of service as an Army Ranger. Machiel became acquainted with the Unfinished Mission and Workforce Central right after leaving the military and was able to use the wraparound services provided by both organizations. He was also able to participate in an aerospace composite technician training program at Clover Park Technical College.
Since that time, he has had multiple job offers, was able to buy his first home with his wife, and is working toward the dream of opening his own business. Machiel hopes to use his experience to help other veterans and stand behind Rally Point 6, which will offer even more robust services.
"These organizations were a huge support," he said. "They were the trampoline to get us to where we are."
Rally Point 6 is in the process of identifying a site in Lakewood to physically house the program. The program and center are slated to start later this fall.
For more information about the concept, the eight impact areas of center support, to view the growing number of private and public organizations that are providing project support, or how you can get involved, visit http://theunfinishedmission.org/community-blueprint/.