POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - The Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard held the first "Veterans Listening Session" in Poplar Bluff, Missouri on Thursday, March 23.
Maj. Gen. Steve Danner said the goal of the meeting was to increase understanding between veterans groups and the Missouri National Guard.
"Our commander-in-chief, Gov. Eric Greitens, has said he wants to make Missouri the best state in the nation for veterans," Danner said. "Everyone who has worn the uniform the past 16 years knows how much our veterans do for our active, Guard and Reserve service members. I want to be sure veterans know the Guard has a lot to offer them, as well."
During the meeting at the Guard's Poplar Bluff armory, Danner talked about a wide range of topics.
"As veterans themselves, Gov. Greitens and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson truly understand the value Defense Department training and certifications can bring to Missouri," he said. "I'm very optimistic that announcements like yesterday's will become the norm."
Many in attendance said working with younger veterans should be a top priority. According to Danner, it will be up to the new generation of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan to carry on their legacy and momentum.
While the military cannot endorse specific veterans groups, Danner said it has an open-door policy for such groups who want to set up an information booth during events like Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program events following deployments.
Following the meeting, Danner said he plans to hold more of these listening sessions with local veterans in other communities across the state.
"I've always felt it's important to lead from the front," he said. "I make it a point to visit every armory in the state. As those visits take place, I am going to continue to reach out to our veterans to ensure we continue to support each other."