Sometimes life gets overwhelming and you just need a hand. That might mean access to information or a resource that can provide services to fill in a gap during a rough patch. Patriot Outreach is in the business of connecting people, specifically veterans and first responders, and resources. Its mission is to provide private and confidential access to simple and effective resources to those troubled or suffering as a result of stressful or traumatic experiences while in the service of our nation. And to provide a forum whereby concerned and experienced professionals can share their expertise and experience. To promote better understanding of the needs of our noble warriors among our military, health professionals and government leadership …to improve mission readiness and to provide hope to the guardians of our nation. On Oct. 1, the organization is set to host Patriot Outreach Day at Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Tony Rand Center.
Mike Baker is the event organizer, and he takes giving back seriously. He’s been there. “Being a vet myself if it wasn’t for a nonprofit giving me support I needed, I would not be where I am today,” said Baker. “That is important to me. I was in the weird transition place in my life. It was actually at the opening of the N.C. Veterans Park that a fellow marine pulled me aside.”
The day’s events include, an information fair, a concert, a car show and an appearance by NASCAR’s Christi Edelbrock. Mayor Nat Robertson will be in attendance and local survivalist celebrity E. J. Snyder will speak.
Baker says there are about 35 vendors scheduled that include organizations like the USO, the Fisher House, Gold Star Mothers and the American Legion as well as smaller organizations.
“This is a way for all of these organizations to be in one location where they know there will be vets. It is a way to get their services recognized by the vets in the community,” Baker said. “Only about 10 percent of vets and first responders get the help they need. We are trying to reach the other 90 percent. We do it by having events that people can come and have fun.”
And that means making it fun as well as informative, which is what the Warrior Jam is about. “We have three music acts,” said Baker. “Jamie Pridgen is a country music singer from the Rocky Mount area. Gil Charles is a military wife and singer who does pop and country music. And Ryan Daniel is our national spokesperson and headliner. CMT just picked a video for one of his songs. He is an Air Force vet and is a good singer.”
NASCAR fans can chat with Christie Edelbrock, who will be on site promoting her Rev’ved Up 4 Kids program. “The program offers and opportunity for kids to get hands on training with an actual engine and tear it apart and rebuild it,” said Baker. “She comes to support us and we appreciate it.”
While all the activities are a lot of fun, what makes the event worthwhile for him is helping people. “We’ve helped 38 people this year. That’s 38 people that needed a hand and someone else didn’t reach,” said Baker.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is at the Toney Rand Student Center. Call 705.6093 for more information.