Permian Warrior Partnership takes a unique approach to helping veterans.
Instead of veterans coming to it, it meets them wherever they are to provide services they need.
“We’re a veterans’ nonprofit and we provide wraparound services in the sense that we find veterans, their family members, care givers and we connect them to the community and vice-versa. We go out, we find community partners, organizations, businesses and connect them with the veterans,” Program Lead Roy Dobbins said.
“That’s a 50,000-foot view. It’s a lot more intricate than that. We connect veterans with service organizations for whatever they might be needing whether it be healthcare, education, job placement, housing, food insecurity, things like that,” Dobbins added.
They launched locally this past fall, but American Warrior Project has existed since 2018. Dobbins said services are provided for free.
To date, Dobbins said they have connected with 150-ish veterans and their family members. But the veteran population in the Permian Basin is about 20,000.
“So our goal is to know 20,000 at the end of the day,” Dobbins said.
Being out in the community is the main way they’re spreading the word.
“Our motto is we meet veterans where they are. We meet them at doctors’ offices, the DMV, Home Depot, restaurants, church; wherever they are. I’m never not working,” Dobbins said. “It’s really basic interactions like that.”
Most of the time, Dobbins said veterans not only don’t know how to navigate the system, they don’t know where to start.
“They don’t know what’s available to them to a vast degree. They don’t know that they can go back to school and the VA will pay for it. They’ll give you a laptop; they’ll give you a housing allowance. People don’t know that, so it’s very, very important to me to have an organization like this,” Dobbins said.
The community has expressed thanks that the organization is here and able to show people what is available to them and how to access it.
They also act as an advocate so if they have questions, they can call the Permian Warrior Partnership, Dobbins said.
“I was shocked at the number of people that just don’t know what’s available to them whether they weren’t told when they exited the military, or they just weren’t curious and 10, 15, 20 years later now they need something and they didn’t know that they could get help through the VA or other organizations,” Dobbins said.
He added that they work with the county veteran service organizations, Midland Vet Center, PermiaCare and other organizations that provide mental healthcare services.
Dobbins said they have great relationships with University of Texas Permian Basin and Odessa and Midland College.
“We work with the Department of Labor. They’ve got a program called SkillBridge where there’s an internship that’s set up. We’re working on navigating that now and tidying up some loose ends so we can start those programs in the Permian Basin, as well,” Dobbins said.
Dobbins is based in Midland, but the organization serves Odessa, Andrews, Midland, Big Spring, Lamesa, Hobbs and Carlsbad, N.M., among other locations in the region.
But if someone calls him from anywhere outside the area, he’ll help them by connecting them with the national organization and find resources for them.
PWP is funded in part by Permian Basin Strategic Partnership and the Abell-Hanger Foundation.
They also take direct donations from their website.
Ultimately, Dobbins said the hope is to be self-sufficient.
“With a lot of organizations, they want veterans that need help so they can help them. What’s different about us is we want to know the veterans that don’t need help. We want to know them and their family members before they need help, so it’s a proactive outreach … so when that need arises we can step in quickly and solve it,” Dobbins said.
“We want to keep them engaged in the community, active and productive in the community and also if somebody loses their job they know who to call. We’ve got a relationship with them,” he added.
PSP President/CEO Tracee Bentley said PSP is thrilled to partner with the American Warrior Partnership to create the recently formed Permian Warrior Partnership to bring veterans the support they deserve, as well as to encourage more veterans and their families to consider moving to the Permian.
“With over 20,000 veterans across the Basin, there’s a demand for resources to support them. Our goal is to make the Permian Basin the most veteran-friendly region in the country and this is a good first step,” Bentley said in an email.
“Roy Dobbins and his team at the PWP understand this mission better than anyone, and their Community Integration model is essential to achieving it. We’re proud of our partnership with PWP and its accomplishments. We look forward to continuing to empower Permian Basin veterans in 2023 and beyond,” she added.