Throughout the last year, representatives from the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs (SCDVA), Vantage Point Foundation (VPF), Semper Fi and America’s Fund, South Carolina Department of Mental Health, and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center worked together as part of the SAMSHA/VA South Carolina Governor’s Challenge Team to find ways to improve social connectedness and care transitions to prevent suicide among Service Members, Veterans and their families. On Thursday, September 16th, 2021 this team, in partnership with Boeing, SC, implemented and trained the state’s first certified Palmetto Pathfinders. These initial Pathfinders are graduates and mentors from VPF’s program who volunteered to pilot the certification process.
The Palmetto Pathfinder Program is comprised of military veterans from all demographics who desire to guide and support service members and fellow veterans transitioning into civilian life in South Carolina. Pathfinders are volunteers, who will be trained and equipped to guide fellow veterans to organizations and resources within the state. Pathfinders will provide a human-to-human connection to Veterans in need of resources that will increase the likelihood of successful transition. These volunteers will work directly with the SCDVA.
“After living a life of service to men and women in uniform, my natural post-retirement endeavor was to not only help but ENSURE that veterans had the best support and resources possible as they transition to the civilian sector. The Palmetto Pathfinder Program provides all the combined efforts of resources and reliable organizations then supercharges veterans with a corps of willing and dependable volunteers. I am humbled and proud to be involved with the Palmetto Pathfinder Program.”
–SgtMaj Jorge Guerrero, USMC (Ret)