NABVETS: Communication Key Across Region II
Across NABVETS Region II
NABVETS Region II Regional Commander Dr. Franklin db Jackson (right) presents Congresswoman Degette (left) with a copy of NABVETS' Eclipse magazine.
By Jennifer Chiesa
The Colorado State Command, under the direction of Franklin db Jackson, PhD, owes its beginnings to our very own Eclipse magazine. As far back as his service days in Vietnam, Jackson had felt a need for an organization focused on black veterans, but it wasn’t until he saw the magazine on someone’s desk that he realized such an organization already existed. “Reading that magazine set everything in motion. I recruited a few of my Kappa Alpha Psi and military brothers, and thanks to General Cocroft, the Franklin db Jackson Chapter 0024 was commissioned in 2006, and the Colorado State Command was created after we had helped to establish several more chapters,” says Jackson.
Dr. Jackson actually wears three hats with NABVETS—he is Commander of Region II, and leads the Colorado State Command as well as the Denver chapter. (Service runs in the family—Jackson’s daughter, Jacque Jackson, is the Commander of Arizona’s Valley of the Sun chapter.) Though each of the commands presents unique challenges, according to Jackson, communication and advocacy are at the heart of each. “In our region, we have worked hard to keep in contact with each other in order to share information and ideas. That’s really the key.”
At the state command level, Jackson and his committee chairs have worked to raise NABVETS profile. “We are very visible to our veterans, in the VA hospitals, and through our participation on state boards such as the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs and groups such as the NAACP,” he says. Colorado Springs Chapter 0034, commanded by Ulysses Sheppard, keeps an especially high profile, as it sits at the front door of Fort Carson. “Commander Sheppard does a yeoman’s job of handling the activity that comes with being near a base. Major General Mark Graham has invited NABVETS to be active on the base, and to help provide services and support,” says Jackson.
“The veterans can see we are getting things done, and know we will push the right buttons to get what they need. So we draw all types to the offices for advice,” Jackson says. “I had a gentleman who wanted his claim completed by NABVETS so badly that he drove 35 miles to my house in a snowstorm.”
(Left to Right) NABVETS Region II members John Rose, Will Furlough and Region II Commander Dr. Franklin db Jackson work together to assist veterans.
The state command also prioritizes communication about new programs. “President Obama approved a voucher program that provides automobiles to veterans who have lost a hand or a foot. But very few people know about that. We have the responsibility to get the word out about new policies that might get overlooked by other groups,” says Jackson.
But perhaps the most important service provided by NABVETS in Colorado is the direct aid given to improve the lives of veterans. “If you are a veteran and you need help with the rent, or gas for your car to get to work, or help to pay the electric bill, you need that now. We can assist with that right away, without a waiting period and a bunch of paperwork,” explains Jackson. The handyman kits offered by the Denver chapter have proven particularly successful. “We had a gentleman who was a veteran and had just gotten out of prison. He was a bricklayer, so we provided him with everything he needed in the way of tools to get back to work. He owns a house in Vail today and comes back to thank us for the opportunity we gave him.”