Together we face a once-in-a-generation opportunity to engage talented and dedicated veterans as leaders in strengthening our nation's competitiveness. We can only capitalize on this opportunity by successfully addressing the resiliency, rehabilitation and reintegration needs of every veteran and their families within our communities.
Community Leadership Vision
Dr. J. Ted Morris, ORNC’s Principle Investigator, also serves as ECU’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Economic Development leading ECU’s office of the same name (OIED). He serves as the University’s lead administrator charged with partnering institutional resources with education, industry, government, community and military partners to make essential and innovative contributions to the community and economic vitality of eastern North Carolina and beyond. As such, OIED is essential to ECU’s mission as a “national model for public service and regional transformation.” And OIED’s programs are recognized locally and nationally for their exceptional innovation, broad reach, measurable productivity and superior quality.
Dr. Morris and the ORNC leadership team envision deploying the full community development, economic development and innovation capacities of OIED to 1) enhance and facilitate ORNC’s objectives as a national research support organization; 2) utilize ORNC as a catalyst for innovative, community and economic development outcomes; and 3) develop a model of community-based veteran/family wellness and reintegration that can be replicated statewide and elsewhere in the nation.
Bringing these additional resources to bear is a direct response to recommendations by the Center for a New American Security in their April 2012 report Well After Service: Veteran Reintegration and American Communities, which highlights that
…in many communities, large and well-established organizations and institutions, such as colleges, universities…have the convening power and community-wide credibility needed to cultivate early support and resources from, and conduct effective outreach to, the community. Because of their leadership positions in many communities, colleges and universities can be a natural foundation on which to build a community reintegration model.
Moreover, because of the community-wide trust and credibility that they tend to enjoy as major institutions, colleges and universities lend themselves to partnership with the military...Furthermore, because many colleges and universities have pre-existing relationships with care providers in their regions, they can often facilitate collaborations and demonstration projects more swiftly than others.
Currently, OIED is partnering with City of Greenville (the City), local and regional economic development organizations, the Veterans Administration, local health care providers, and non-profit groups such as Hope for The Warriors to establish a community-based veteran/family wellness and reintegration program to recruit, reintegrate and retain veterans and their families within the region and state. Additionally, these partners are developing best practices for use among a network of partnering communities such as those from the Charlotte Bridge Home in Charlotte, NC. These related programs are focused on developing a shared understanding of veteran/family wellness to ensure community-based efforts contribute most effectively to their shared goals of reintegration.