Veterans Center of North Texas Works Hard to Support Collin County’s Veterans
(From left) Dave Schafer, Phillip Norton, Pete Young and Paul Hendricks volunteers at VCONT. (Photo by workexplorer.com)
Paul Hendricks is a man driven by the need to provide community service. He is in his second three-year term on the Fairview Town Council (Seat Five), and earlier this year was elected by his six council colleagues to serve as Mayor Pro Tem, a responsibility that designates Hendricks to stand-in for Mayor Darion Culbertson should the mayor be unable to preside at meetings or represent the Fairview Town Council elsewhere. Prior to his town council service, Hendricks served on the Fairview Planning and Zoning Commission for more than nine years. But this is just a part of his public service story.
After securing an engineering degree, Hendricks spent 20years in the U.S. Air Force serving on B-52s in Vietnam, supporting the development and testing of the B-1B bomber and working in the intelligence community. He reached the rank of Lt Colonel in the Air Force. Hendricks then transitioned to the private sector as a Program Manager at Boeing for another 21 years. Along the way he developed a passionate devotion to aid other armed forces veterans. He is the President of the Seidel Chapter of the Air Force Association and serves as VP of the Legislative Committee of the Military Officers Association of America. He is also the founder and chair of the Collin County Veterans Coalition as well as a member of the Collin County Homeless Coalition and several social service agencies.
Hendricks’ interest in serving veterans led to his organization of the Veterans Center of North Texas (VCONT), a 501 C (3) nonprofit foundation, in 2013. Hendricks explains that, “Back in 2012, several people in Collin County wanted to provide veterans with assistance but really didn’t know how to go about it. I used my program management experience to create a plan.” The organization now serves veterans in seven North Texas counties and is headquartered in Plano (900 E Park Blvd, Suite 155). Hendricks serves as the Chairman and President of VCONT and, as is the case with all 24 volunteer staff, receives no compensation. He typically spends 40 hours a week working for VCONT.
The mission of the organization is to serve as a referral resource to veterans and their families in North Texas. Of the nations’ 22 million veterans, 1.3 million reside in Texas, 58,000 are located in Collin County. Of the nearly 500 homeless people in the county, about 14% are veterans. Other issues that VCONT addresses involve both locating shelter and long-term housing, furnishing immediate-need funds, providing sources for financial management training, securing assistance for mental illness and medical and/or disability issues and, helping those who are either underemployed or unemployed. “Hendricks adds, “If a veteran comes to us for help with virtually any issue we will do our best to ensure that a solutions provider can be found.”
In the time since VCONT has existed it has provided support to over 3,000 individuals and their families; 1,080 veterans were served in 2017 and the organization is on track to serve about the same number in 2018. Hendricks says, “Our most urgent needs remain funding and volunteers. While we don’t provide volunteers, including those who serve as staff, with any funding, we do have obligations such as rent, insurance, office supplies, telephone, computer and software support, and security and background checks for all who want to serve. We really need both volunteers and funding. Our operating budget is only $20,000 annually. Those who wish to receive details about how they can volunteer can reach VCONT by telephone at (469) 667-7750 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Individuals and organizations that wish to provide contributions may also contact us either of these contact points.”
Coincidentally, North Texas Giving Day is September 20. The Communities Foundation of Texas has recognized VCONT as one of its beneficiary organizations. If you prefer to contribute as part of this special annual day you can do so by going to http://bit.ly/HELP_VETS
“Considering the enormous contributions all armed forces veterans have made to the nation in so many ways, I encourage everyone to support both VCONT and North Texas Giving Day as a way to say how much we all appreciate our veterans”, adds Hendricks.
Given the vitally important work that VCONT is doing for our veterans, expect more news about the organization in the future.