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Killeen: program to help soldiers leaving military now available at Fort Hood

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 7:55 AM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Transitioning out of the military can be difficult, but a program from Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense hopes to make that easier.

It’s called the ETS-Sponsorship Program, or Expiration Term of Service. According to ETS, studies show 44% to 72% of soldiers experience high levels of stress while making the transition to civilian life.

As part of the program, soldiers are paired with a sponsor in their new community to serve as a guide and support through the transition period.

Brian Roeder, director of field operations for the program, said that direct link is an important part of the program.

“A key aspect is that sponsor can help directly link that servicemen, to the resource that they may need,” Roeder said. “So I don’t have to figure out, don’t have to scramble and there’s someone who’s been through before and knows the journey.”

Roeder was a part of the program himself when he transitioned out of the military last year. He said while he had a plan in place, it was focused on employment.

Roeder said the sponsor is a great resource when something comes up that may not be part of a soldier’s plan.

“It helped me realize there’s more aspects of it that you need assistance you may not realize it, and then there’s opportunities that you don’t even know exist,” Roeder said. “This program can help connect you.”

Danielle Bracco, operations manager for the ETS Sponsorship Program, said the program isn’t meant to be a replacement for other assistance the military offers. It offers help in a wide range of areas, like employment and education, as well as family, legal and social needs.

In order to make the program successful, sponsors are needed here in Central Texas for any soldiers staying in the area. Danielle Bracco, operations manager for the ETS Sponsorship Program, said sponsors don’t have to be veterans. People just need to have a passion for helping others.

“Some of our best sponsors are civilians because they’ve been living in that community for so many years,” Bracco said. “They have those connections to all those different opportunities and events that are going.”

If you’d like to sign up to participate in the program, either as a sponsor or as a soldier, you can find more information at etssponsorship.com.

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