The following news release comes courtesy of RallyPoint/6 - a Lakewood-based military, veteran and family resource center that's the first of its kind in Washington State:
RallyPoint/6 to Hold Grand Opening on Wednesday in Lakewood
- WHAT: RallyPoint/6 Grand Opening
- WHEN: Noon, Wednesday, Sept. 3
- WHERE: 9881 Bridgeport Way SW, Lakewood
- WEBSITE: rp6.org
- WHAT ELSE: RallyPoint/6 includes amenities intended to meet the needs of our military community: 6,000-square-foot center with computer stations, meeting rooms, classrooms, kid drop zone service and other amenities for military, veterans and military families – each assigned a personal “SCOUT” to assist in finding the path ahead.
LAKEWOOD, Wash. – Pierce County and the South Puget Sound enjoy a special relationship with military services members and their families. RallyPoint/6 opens the state’s largest private, community convener and integrator for resources in support of employment, education, benefits, family programs, finance, legal and wellness opportunities for Servicemembers, Veterans and Military Families.
The nonprofit organization – which supports all generations of all military branches, veterans and military family members, – is now operating in the heart of Lakewood, a city whose identity and culture is intertwined with Joint Base Lewis-McChord, The States National Guard Headquarters - Camp Murray, the American Lake Veterans Hospital, and the city is in the heart of Pierce County which has one of the largest concentrated Veteran populations in the U.S. at more than 90,000.
With support from veterans who founded the organization, volunteer service members, military family members, and citizen leaders the new center is designed as a hub for Veterans who seek crucial transitional and reintegration connections from existing and emerging, public and private organizations that are in the community.
Anne Sprute, RallyPoint/6 Founder and CEO understands “when service members and their families move to a new community, or transition from their military service, they are not coming home to the government or the VA, they are coming home to our communities. Who better to ensure they are received and set up for success than the multiple public and private organizations positioned in their new communities. Sprute, a retired CW4 helicopter pilot also acknowledged, “This year alone, 9,500 service members are expected to transition from JBLM and an estimated 13,000 will be transitioning from military installations worldwide back to WA State. These service members will require resources to make a smooth transition and reintegrate fully into their communities.
RallyPoint/6 is standing ready to provide opportunities for connections and follow up for smooth path ahead,” she added. The center has been operating on a limited basis since March 2014 while infrastructure was put into place, staff trained and processes with service partners refined. Beginning September 3rd, RallyPoint/6 will launch full scale operations.
The center boasts more than 6,000 square feet of space, and its amenities include:
- Resource room with computer stations
- Commercial-grade copier/printer and fax machine
- 10 private meeting rooms
- 16 community partner connector stations staffed by social service professionals.
- Classroom for workshops and other learning opportunities.
The site also offers a child drop-off “Drop Zone” to accommodate service members and their families who need a break from kid duties while connecting to the vast array of resources at the center. For java drinkers – RallyPoint/6 has a commercial coffee machine that serves complimentary coffee, tea and hot chocolate, all donated by the Starbucks Coffee Company, a very generous way of thanking each service and family member for their service to our country.
Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, a RallyPoint/6 Board Member, says the organization’s mission is ideal for such a military rich region.
“Given the number of service members transitioning into Pierce County over the next few years, RallyPoint/6 will be another key resource for building veteran support networks among businesses and non-profits,” she said. “Providing efficient and effective assistance to veterans and their families joining our communities will enhance the livability of Pierce County.”
The center is a product of community support, as well as a recognition that it must do everything we can to help veterans and their families. The initial funding came from the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation with a bold challenge grant that pledged $1 million in matching funds from the community. Through generous private and public donors and foundation grants, Sprute and a small team of veterans and citizen leaders raised the necessary $1 million in less than four months. In addition to community donations, the organization received in-kind support to establish RallyPoint/6’s physical location.
“The sacrifices that service members and their families make on a daily basis are remarkable,” Lakewood City Manager John Caulfield said. “A center like RallyPoint/6 shows how much our community is committed to helping and meeting the needs of our transitioning military. Anne is doing a wonderful thing for our military community, and the City of Lakewood will support the RP/6 mission any way it can. We welcome RP/6 with open arms.”
Lieutenant General (R) Bill Harrison, Co-Chairman of the RallyPoint/6 Board of Directors and former commander of I Corps and Fort Lewis, as well as Lakewood’s first mayor, said “These transitioning young veterans and their families have the potential to become the bedrock of our communities in the future. Helping them succeed will produce our next generation of strong families, community volunteers, civic and business leaders. We ask you to join us at RallyPoint/6 in welcoming them home and helping them thrive.”
If you or someone you know is a veteran who’s making the transition out of the military, stop by RallyPoint/6 to connect to the center’s exhaustive network of resources. There are different ways you can assist in this mission; volunteer with your time, talent or donate resources. Be part of ensuring our next greatest generation is embraced with opportunity to continue to serve in the community. As the Schultz Family Foundation stated, “While their service is ending, our responsibility is just beginning.”
RP/6 is located at 9881 Bridgeport Way SW, Lakewood. Operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, visit: rp6.org .