Veteran Connections with the Alabama Heroes Welcome Initiative

By Jennifer Holliday
Alabama Military Family Liaison

Alabama has long been known as one of the most patriotic states in the nation, and one that wraps its arms around our military, Veterans, and military families. In 2019, Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth made a concerted effort to strengthen Alabama’s bond with its military-connected communities by improving the quality of life for Veterans and military families moving to and living in our great state. The Lieutenant Governor, State Legislature, and Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs are tackling these needs as quickly as possible with the help of the Alabama Military Stability Commission (ALMSC), Chaired by the Lieutenant Governor, and the Alabama Military Stability Foundation (ALMSF).

As the U.S. Department of Defense began focusing on military spouses and family quality of life, especially employment and licensure reciprocity for spouses moving from state to state with professional licenses, Alabama realized the need for a few key components:

• Legislative action to better support military families as they move to Alabama

• A website to help military spouses and Veterans navigate the vast resources available to them in each defense community across the state

• Boots on the ground to work hand-in-hand with military spouses, Veterans, and local and military community leaders

Unanimous Legislative Actions

Alabama has robust laws in place to support Veterans and military families, offering significant financial assistance for education and tax reduction. Over the last few years, numerous additional laws have been unanimously passed by the State House and Senate on quality of life issues like establishing the Alabama Purple Star Schools Program, expanding financial benefits, and opening Advanced Enrollment for K-12 students moving to Alabama on military orders.

In 2021 and 2022, the Legislature joined National licensure compacts including Nursing, EMS, Physical Therapy, Psychology,
Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, Counseling, and Occupational Therapy.

Heroes Welcome

In July 2020, the Alabama Heroes Welcome website was designed by two military spouses and launched by the ALMSF as a first-in-the-nation statewide resource experience for military spouses, service members, and Veterans moving from anywhere in the world. It is also a great site for those living here and looking for resources. All resources on this site are vetted by military spouses and subject matter experts. It is also the only location in the state of Alabama to find all 48 licensing boards with their contact information and the licensure compacts that Alabama has joined.

Alabama Military Family Liaison

Following the launch of the Heroes Welcome website, the ALMSF also appointed the first Alabama Military Family Liaison to provide boots-on-the-ground communication and coordination with local defense communities, DoD Installations, military families, and Veterans. Additional duties of the Liaison include connecting the military community with the resources they need, recommending new legislation, and helping to launch new statewide and local programs to benefit military families and Veterans across Alabama.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s