Eighteen representatives from more than six agencies shared ideas and success stories about their organizations at the Greater Copperas Cove Community Agency Network Meeting on Monday at Grace United Methodist Church.

Joseph Solomon, executive director of the Refuge Corporation, chaired the meeting and spoke to the group.

“You care so much, and you want to get your message out to share information with other agencies so we don’t duplicate services and waste time,” he said.

The meeting brought together agencies that service Lampasas, Coryell and Bell counties. The group has no board of directors or paid staff, but Solomon and others rotate as chairmen of the meetings.

“By the work you do, each agency helps make our city better,” said Frank Seffrood, Copperas Cove mayor pro-tem.

Organized in a round-table format, representatives gave updates of the services their agencies provide, such as housing, health care and mental health and counseling. Some of the agencies present included Fort Hood American Red Cross, Bring Everyone in the Zone and Texas Health Step.

A new state program, the Peer Network, helps veterans with their mental health issues by recruiting vets to become facilitators of groups.

“It’s vets helping vets and who better knows your plight than someone who has been there,” said Susie Garrett, field clinician.

Experience Works is an employment program that retrains seniors with a new skills so they can get a job.

“We want to let people know we are here and our seniors bring a work ethic that younger generations don’t have yet,” said Ernestine Keener, employment and training coordinator.

Becky “BJ” Johnson, community outreach specialist for the Copperas Cove Senior Center, encouraged people to promote the city’s senior center because it is under-used. Johnson also mentioned she obtained her job with the city through the Education Works program.

“This meeting makes us a one-stop shop for information, because the worst thing you can do is turn somebody away and say, ‘I don’t know,’” said Phyllis Jones, state NAACP education chairwoman.

For more information, contact Joseph Solomon at the Refuge Corporation at 254-547-6753.

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