Waco: City creating veterans affairs advisory board

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 9:55 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The City of Waco is upping its game when it comes to serving veterans.

Last month, the city took the first step to create its first Veterans Affairs Advisory Board.

“This is the City of Waco’s attempt to get more involved in veterans’ affairs here in Waco-McLennan County and to be a stronger partner in coordinating and facilitating serving veterans in our community,” said Josh Borderud, City Councilman for Dist. 3.

Councilman Borderurd is spearheading the effort.

In May, the council approved an ordinance to create the board on its first reading.

“We’re hoping we can set this up to better the lives of veterans here,” said Borderud.

For Borderud, who also serves as the Director of the Veterans Clinic at Baylor Law School, it’s personal.

“Both my grandfathers were WWII combat veterans, one in the Pacific and another fought in the Battle of the Bulge, my mother and father are both veterans...so veterans issues are near and dear to my heart because so many of my family members have served in the Armed Forces,” said Borderud.

He says the city tried creating something similar in 2006 but was unsuccessful.

“It just was never implemented; it was passed as an ordinance, but it never got off the ground,” said Borderud.

However, now, under his leadership and others, he says the city wants to hit the ‘ground’ running.

“I think we do a good job of serving veterans, but I think there’s always room for improvement,” said Borderud.

He says the goal of the board is to strengthen the city’s bond with the VA and coordinate community efforts to serve veterans, including events.

“Better facilitation and coordination of things like the Veteran’s Day Parade or Memorial Day commemorations or the way we remember veterans and the fallen year-round in McLennan County, as well as just making Waco a better place for veterans in their day-to-day lives and helping coordinate all the services that are designed to serve them here in Waco,” said Borderud.

The board will consist of about 15 members, he says.

“Once fully-approved, we’ll be appointing people to the board from each council district, the HOT Behavioral Health Network/Veterans One Stop, the McLennan County Veterans Service Office, and a number of ex-officio members from VA offices locally, from congressional, state and federal delegations as well,” said Borderud.

Anyone interested in applying can reach out to a city council member--they must live in McLennan County and have previously served in the U.S. military.

Another goal of the board, Borderud says, is attracting more military families to Waco.

“To continue to make Waco a desirable place for veterans and military retirees,” said Borderud.

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