National Guard Opens Assistance Center

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The Michigan National Guard cut the ribbon on its new Service Member Veteran and Family Assistance Center in Lansing. The facility offers many benefits that will help make a difference in the lives of military members and their families.

A swift cut to a ribbon has opened the door to services that have previously been hard to access.

"Somebody to talk to, somebody to find out what you need for medical services that are unique to your service to the country," said Jim Capehart, a Vietnam veteran.

This assistance center is changing how people access their military benefits and support. It's the first central place in the state where people can go to get that information.

"This is really one stop shopping, one stop benefit shopping for all service members, veterans, retirees and family members," said Jessica Ulrey, the director of state family programs.

"We know that there are families and members who need help and need support and need access," said Mayor Virg Bernero at the ceremony.

From ID cards to retirement benefits and even employment assistance, the center is filling a gap in services that hundreds of thousands of people in the state can use.

"We have very few active duty installations in the state that can offer the types of services that this facility will provide," Ulrey added.

There are nine other assistance centers in Michigan but this is the biggest one, offering the most services from a central location.

"It is a huge shock to come to a state like Michigan that doesn't have all those services," Ulrey said. "So a center like this will greatly assist military families as well."

But one of the biggest perks is having someone in person that you can talk to.

"It gives peace of mind knowing that there's others around and are in kind of the same boat you're in," Capehart said.

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