Did you know Hampton Roads has a military advisory group? Here’s what it’s all about

(WYDaily file)
(Southside Daily file)

Hampton Roads is home to thousands of active duty military members, their families and veterans. The area has dozens of resources for military including hospitals and nonprofits.

Here’s another resource: The Hampton Roads Military Advisory Council.

The group was created on Oct. 10, 2018. But what does the HRMAC actually do?

“The overarching purpose of the council is to do a couple of things,” said Ronald Lewis, vice chairman for military affairs for the Hampton Roads Chamber. “One, is to bring together synergy to all the local efforts involving active duty military and their families.”

“Hampton Roads should be the region of choice for people serving on active duty to transition and retire,” Lewis added.

The Hampton Roads Military Advisory Council is a group comprised of military officers, businesses, nonprofit organizations and other resources — the purpose is to collaborate on how best to address issues for active duty and veterans.

The last meeting was on Aug. 29 in Chesapeake, according to the Hampton Roads Chamber Facebook post.

“Substantive discussions today at the Hampton Roads Military Advisory Council (HRMAC) on how we can collectively tackle the issues affecting our military, veterans and their families,” the Facebook post noted.

Lewis, a retired Army general and CEO of LTC 2 Consulting, said there are approximately 50 members in the public and private partnership group including the USO and Mission United.

When asked if this group would act as a resource for active duty military and veterans or create specific programs, Lewis said the council would do both.

“We don’t want to replace that,” Lewis said, adding many cities have a military council. “This is to bring some additional resources to what the cities already do.”

Commanders and senior officers on the committee are bringing forward some concerns and issues active duty military members and their families are having on base.

So what kind of problems? Helping military spouses find jobs.

Lewis said the council created the military spouse economic empowerment zone to address the issue and in the future, the council might create a committee or a task force to help combat another issue facing active duty military and their families: childcare.

But what about veterans?

“We’re getting the word out,” Lewis said. ” There are places that exist right now where people can go to get the information they need.”

Lewis added HRMAC plans to “get the word out” to military veterans support groups like the Disabled American Veterans.

“It’s filling the gap of having an organization that pulls together the Peninsula, Southside and all of the Hampton Roads region,” Lewis said. “It’s about taking action and getting some results.”

It’s unclear if the Hampton VA Medical Center is part of the committee and a center representative was not immediately available for comment.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.