Serving our Cherokee County veterans

by Staff reports

Cherokee County is home to a number of groups and organizations that serve the military community, be they veteran or current service members. Many have social media pages to keep the community abreast of what is going on.

As You Were was formed in 2021 by Army veteran Terry Everest, who wanted to start an informal peer group for veterans in Cherokee County. The Oregon transplant said he hit upon the idea after realizing that not all veterans have an opportunity to meet in a relaxed environment where they can draw support and friendship from each other. The group recently marked its one-year anniversary, and now meets at the Rusk Lions Club building on U.S. Highway 84 West, adjacent to DG Market. For more information about the group, contact coordinator Terry Everest at 707-951-2684.

Jacksonville’s American Legion Post #152 is one of more than 12,000 posts in communities throughout the country. Established by Congress in 1919, the American Legion is the largest wartime veterans service organization, numbering nearly 2 million members. The American Legion not only supports active military personnel and veterans, it also sponsors programs such as American Legion Baseball, Boys State, Oratorical Contests and other youth-oriented activities. Locally, the post is led by commander Ron Seeton, who may be contacted at 903-721-7292, or write the post at P.O. Box 1723, Jacksonville, TX 75766.

VFW Post #3984 of Jacksonville is located 201 Memorial Dr. The Veterans of Foreign Wars are comprised of U.S. war veterans who have fought in wars, campaigns and expeditions on foreign territory, and whose roots trace back to 1898. The organization not only serves military families past and present, but also sponsors patriotic programs such as the Voice of Democracy and the Patriot’s Pen competitions for youth.

The Vietnam Veterans of America and Associates of VVA, Chapter 991 in Palestine, meets the second Tuesday of each month at its hall, located at 927 Gardner Dr., for fellowship and meals. Its service area includes Vietnam Veterans and Vietnam War Era Veterans from Anderson County and the five surrounding, along with Leon County. It is, however, open to all veterans and their families. Bill Stepp serves as chapter president, and can be reached at 903-221-6474.

The Lone Star Military Veteran Resource & Farmers Group has been active for nearly a decade, offering resources and information to military members, veterans and their families in Cherokee County, including agricultural information that helps families cultivate their own foodstuffs. The group is headquartered at Highway 69 Trading Post in Jacksonville, at the intersection of U.S. Highways 69 and 79. For more information about Lone Star Military Resource & Farmers Group, contact Julianne Sanford at 903-810-0303.

Marine Corps League Jacksonville Texas Detachment #1381 is led by Commander Bob Martin; it is a group probably best known as the guys (and gals) responsible for the local Toys for Toys drive each fall. Membership is comprised of Marine Corps and Navy Corpsman, with the local detachment receiving its charter in 2011 and being actively involved in the community through a variety of projects. The organization’s mailing address is P.O. Box 573, Jacksonville, Texas 75766. Contact Martin at 972-977-1524 to learn more.

The Military Veteran Peer Network is a peer-to-peer network that works with local mental health authorities to create a valuable resource for service members, veterans and their families, especially in instances where there is a trauma-affected member. The organization services such as direct peer-to-peer support, training on suicide prevention and military cultural competency, coordination of mental health first aid, and warm-handoffs to local resources based on the individual needs of the veteran and family. To learn more, contact Peer Services Coordinator Bradley Erickson,, or call 903-721-2078.

Cherokee County Veteran Service is led by Andrew Dehart, who serves as an advocate for local active and former military service men and women, as well as their families. The office serves as a liaison that assists individuals who would rather work with someone local when dealing with the Veterans Administration. Services span a wide variety, such as benefits and claims, including death benefits for surviving spouses. Contact Veterans Service Officer Andrew Dehart at 903-683-4012.