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Montgomery Co. Launches Program To Support Wounded Veterans

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Maryland Adjutant Gen. James Adkins speaks at the launch ceremony for Montgomery County's "Serving Together" program Aug. 1.
Jessica Palombo
Maryland Adjutant Gen. James Adkins speaks at the launch ceremony for Montgomery County's "Serving Together" program Aug. 1.

A new project in Montgomery County called "Serving Together" is designed to reach out to military veterans and their families.

Lorrie Knight-Major's son, Ryan, was serving in the Army in November of 2002.

"He was in Ramadi, Iraq, and they were on foot patrol at about 2:30 in the morning, and the bomb was planted underground, and he was about 2 feet from it," Knight-Major says.

At age 22, Ryan Major lost both his legs when the roadside bomb exploded. He was then brought to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C. There, a social worker handed his mother a 10-page list of services for injured veterans.

"Out of all those numbers and e-mail addresses, only one organization actually called me back," Major's mother says.

Frustrations like these are why the Mental Health Association launched Serving Together. The program will provide peer advisers to better connect military families with support services. On Monday, County Executive Ike Leggett said Montgomery can do better for its veterans.

"Veterans are sleeping on grates, under bridges, standing on corners looking and begging for food," he says.

The project is funded with a $500,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and matching funds from local groups.

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