Veterans Council History
The Veterans Council of Indian River County was established in 1987 with an initial focus on two activities: 1) Providing transportation for veterans to the West Palm Beach VA Hospital; 2) Hosting Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies honoring veterans.
Transportation needs were initially addressed with assistance from one of the Council member agencies that purchased two vehicles. In 2010, replacement buses for the two very high mileage vehicles were purchased with the assistance of a Council Auxiliary Member organization and the generosity of multiple major and individual donors.
Since 1964, Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies have been held at Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary. As the demand for recognition of veterans has grown, Veterans’ Council representatives now participate in many events held throughout Indian River County. Another community initiative implemented through Council member efforts is the Veterans in the Classroom program.
In 2011 a unique and innovative Council initiative established a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit, the Victory Center at Indian River Mall. Military-themed items are sold by a volunteer Council-member staff. Profits from the Center stay in the county; they are donated to veterans’ organizations and the Veterans’ Council. The Victory Center has drawn nationwide attention from veterans’ organizations hoping to emulate this success.
In 2012 the Upward American Veterans Program (UAV) was formed to address a previously unrecognized situation within the Indian River County’s veteran population: the existence of needy veterans and their families unable to sustain even a basic standard of living. Since 2012, the UAV has spent over $132K assisting 207 veterans and their families.
In 2013 the Veterans Outreach (VO) program was initiated by the Council with the goal of assisting Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans to make a successful transition from military to civilian life and others who want to enhance life skills. Primary program elements are to identify these young veterans and gather commitments for assistance from community organizations, businesses, and educational institutions. The program includes budgeting workshops, job searching, training/skills classes internships, general education and family support.
Veterans Council Timeline