Veteran’s Readjustment Counseling Service is available in Harker Heights and it’s part of the Veterans Health Administration.

It is also a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the third largest federal agency behind Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.

Charles Edens, visitors outreach specialist at the Killeen Heights Vet Center, told Kiwanis Club members Tuesday the counseling center concept was established in 1979 because a significant number of Vietnam veterans had problems readjusting to civilian life.

The original plan was for 37 vet centers to be open for two years. There are now more than 300 of these facilities open across the country.

“If a person received an honorable discharge they are automatically eligible for counseling,” he said. “With the increase of the number of women in the military, they also become automatically eligible for assistance if they suffered military sexual trauma.”

The services provided by the counseling centers include individual counseling, group meetings and counseling, bereavement counseling, marital and family counseling, employment counseling and guidance, benefits assistance and referral, substance abuse information and referral, community outreach and liaison and homeless prevention assistance.

At the Heights location, there is additional assistance to help veterans with filing disability compensation claims, an employment counselor, benefits assistant, and a point of contact to help vets with questions. These services are free and there is no co-pay.

“These people who have been in combat have already paid their dues so we do it because it’s the right thing,” Edens said.

The Killeen Heights Vet Center is at 302 Millers Crossing, Suite 4, in Harker Heights. For more information, call 254-953-7100.

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