Veteran Crisis Response Team receives Life Saving Award from the National VFW

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It’s now been several years since the Veteran Crisis Response Team started helping veterans in Itasca County. It’s about supporting them during their darkest moments, with help with mental health, housing, and more.

They remain the only team like it in the state of Minnesota. The VCRT is part of First Call for Help, a non-profit in Itasca County.

“Our VCRT has worked hard to listen to the community and adapt the team to meet the specific needs of veterans in Itasca County. We don’t believe in cookie cutter programs, and Itasca County is unique,” according to First Call’s executive director Cre Larson.

On Wednesday, the team and First Call staff celebrated recognition of their work at the VFW Post 1720 in Grand Rapids.

They received the Life Saving Award from the National VFW. Post 17020 Commander Joel Kvilvang told them, “Your actions have saved lives. I know them.”

Members of the team are grateful for the recognition. But Jason Anderson, an army veteran on the team, told the crowd, “We are blessed to support them. It’s a tremendous honor for us.”

They’ve made contact with about 180 veterans of the 3800+ that live in Itasca County. And leaders are hopeful more counties will step up to do programs like this one.

The team said they couldn’t do this work without the support of the Itasca County Board, among others.

To reach them, just call 211.