10/18/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/18/2019 16:09
Congressman Greg Gianforte recognized Allen and Linda Erickson with his Spirit of Montana commendation for their selfless work to provide greater opportunity for Montana veterans.
Allen and Linda started a nonprofit organization, the North West Montana Veterans Service Center, to provide supplies and services to veterans in need. The center includes a food pantry and a thrift store. Allen and Linda also focus on ending veteran homelessness, providing veterans with job training, and ensuring veterans have access to treatment and recovery services.
Gianforte's Spirit of Montana is a weekly recognition of Montanans for their accomplishments, dedication, or service. Gianforte highlights the recipient in the U.S. House of Representatives and personally contacts the honorees.
Gianforte encourages anyone to nominate Montanans for the Spirit of Montana award by contacting his office at 202-225-3211 or by email at https://gianforte.house.gov/contact/email.
Gianforte's statement in the Congressional Record follows:
Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Allen and Linda Erickson of Kalispell for their commitment to local veterans, and their families, through the North West Montana Veterans Service Center.
The nonprofit organization was born from Allen's vision to serve Montana veterans. He organized and executed a two-day event, Stand Down, to provide supplies and services to homeless veterans. The now annual Stand Down event led to the creation of the Veterans Service Center, which Allen founded and leads as president. The service center includes a food pantry, a thrift store, and medical equipment loans - all tailored to serve veterans.
Allen and Linda opened the Food Pantry in 2002 and have helped organize the community to provide over 156,000 pounds of food to those in need. They have helped provide food to over 2,000 veteran households and over 500 children.
The Veterans Thrift Store provides services such as 'move in' assistance, basic furniture, and seasonal clothing. The service center also includes access to shower and laundry facilities for homeless veterans in the community.
In addition to the Stand Downs and the North West Montana Veterans Service Center, the Ericksons have been working on creating Camp Ponderosa Veterans Retreat. The live-in treatment facility will provide veterans with counseling and group therapy. Similar to the Stand Downs, the facility will offer a community for veterans battling homelessness to learn job skills and apply for jobs.
The Ericksons have spent so much of their time dedicated to making this vision become a reality. With the help of countless volunteers and a generous anonymous donor, the camp will become a place for veterans to heal, recover, and rebuild.
Madam Speaker, for their selfless work to provide greater opportunity for our veterans, I recognize Allen and Linda Erickson of Kalispell for their spirit of Montana.