Montrose Movement to Improve Veterans' Quality of Life
Montrose -The city of Montrose is no stranger to paying special attention to welcoming home troops, but one night while watching a CBS story about a triple amputee veteran finding happiness again in kayaking, Melanie Kline was inspired to do something more.
"We want Montrose to be the first city in America, the only city in America and maybe a model for a lot more cities in America, to become a 'no-barriers' environment," said Kline.
She created a grassroots effort to get Welcome Home Montrose off the ground, an organization that is centered around a vet's quality of life and what the city can do to help better it.
"Whatever barriers are in their way, whether they're physical barriers in our infrastructure or whether it's barriers to getting jobs and careers or services getting their needs met, we want to make sure those barriers are removed," said Kline.
Members of the board say it's not enough to just welcome the troops when they come home. "Helping them transition and their families to help them understand what that service member is going through is the beauty of a program like this," said trauma specialist Rob Ringo.
Kline reached out to different aspects of the city from health to recreation to see who was interested in the long term project and not one person turned her away. "I was amazed, I was just amazed that so many people were willing to put in the time and energy, this community has a huge heart," said Kline.
Since the creation of the organization, it's been gaining momentum throughout the state and nationally.
"Our congressional representative Scott Tipton has already made contacts for us in Washington, with the Veterans Affairs organizations up there. He's standing by, ready to do whatever we need to do or have him do," said Bob Brown, director of the Downtown Development Authority and board member of Welcome Home Montrose.
Although they have a long road to go, Kline says she believes in the support of officials and the compassion of the city. "It seemed like it was meant to happen and so many things have come into place. It's not an accident it's meant to be. It will be," Kline said.