Texas Veterans Network: Helping Veterans Live A Better Life

What started with a genuine intention to help veteran and military families is now a powerful network of more than 340 veteran-serving, community-based organizations. 

Years ago, three Houston-based veterans were sharing their experiences with the transition to civilian life and observing how little help was available to veterans and military families. They saw the need for an organization connecting veterans and their family members to the resources they need. 

Combined Arms was established as a 501c3 nonprofit in 2015. In the military, the term “combined arms” refers to an approach to warfare that coordinates different military assets (tanks, infantry, artillery, aviation, etc.) to achieve specific military objectives. Combining the capabilities of each system increases the likelihood of success. 

The Combined Arms model (methodology and technology) was established in 2015 in Houston. In 2020, with an investment from the Texas Workforce Commission, the platform began scaling the model across the state. This program is called the Texas Veterans Network Powered by Combined Arms, and since 2023, the program is statewide.

“TVN’s innovative technology platform and intake teams made over 60,000 veterans and military-connected family members across Texas with life-changing resources. Since the invention of a statewide network created by Combined Arms, our nonprofit agency has expanded our methodology into three other states,” said Executive Director Mia Garcia, a Marine Corps Veteran who was recently selected as one of the 2023 Women Veterans of the Year by The Department of Veterans Affairs, Center for Women Veterans (CWV). 

“Launching TVN in 2020 amidst a global pandemic was not planned, but we were able to adapt our program to ensure veterans had access to the resources they needed during this challenging time. While many of our programs shifted to virtual in 2020 and 2021, by 2022, we were back in the field meeting veterans where they were.”

TVN’s outreach includes community events such as Operation Brown Bag, Operation Santa, veteran-specific mobile food pantries, TVC and TWC-specific events, military installation transition events/programs, and numerous VetFests throughout Texas.

The Veteran Wellness Alliance (VWA) is a unique program that is available to veterans with severe PTSD and TBI’s. VWA is a partnership between the George W. Bush Institute, Combined Arms, and best-in-class mental and brain health organizations. VWA and about 60 other partners offer resources nationwide.

“Our work is also having tremendous economic value. Our estimates indicate that our resource network has resulted in more than $265 million of economic value to the state of Texas,” Garcia said. 

“Our mission is to deliver innovative technology solutions that optimize connection to resources, drive network-wide efficiencies, and improve the quality of life for veterans and military families,” said Krystle Kaszuba, North Texas Regional Coordinator for TVN. 

“We provide ‘boots on the ground’ in every major metropolitan area in Texas, including the DFW area. We work locally to identify veteran-serving nonprofits and government agencies in their respective regions, determine which are best in class, forge partnerships, and bring them into our partner network. TVN is also building networks on the veteran side of the equation by organizing events (brown bag lunches, training sessions, speaker events, special gatherings to honor veterans, and more) and engaging in other kinds of outreach to connect with area veterans and link them to area resources. Notable events in the DFW area include mobile food pantries, VetConnect Days, Red White & You Hiring Fairs, and Veteran’s Day-focused events.”

Krystle joined the Navy at 17 and served 20 years of active duty with 13 years as a Career Counselor. After retirement, she worked as a veteran case manager for a nonprofit before she joined Texas Veterans Network. 

TVN’s Arlington staff from United Way of Tarrant County (UWTC) comprises veterans or veteran spouses within the Mission United program who function as their Intake Team. To provide 24/7 coverage, UWTC is partnered with the Combined Arms intake team and Vets 4 Warriors. As a unit, the team ensures its high-need clients receive a more intensive intake and helps walk clients through connecting to resources. 

Krystle is grateful to have seen the community welcome Texas Veterans Network to North Texas with open arms. She appeals to the locals to collaborate with TVN and contribute to a better society. 

“Veterans vary widely but want many of the same things as they transition back to civilian life. They want to work and be financially secure. They want a roof over their head and enough food to eat. They want to live purposeful lives. They want to be able to access help when they need it. And they want to connect with other veterans and continue serving their communities,” she said. 

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