volume 65 - issue 12 - december 2015
SMECO launches Patriot Connect
In November, SMECO launched its new Patriot Connect program to help veterans and active military personnel who may be having a difficult time transitioning back into the community.
Media reports indicate that there is a high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among returning military personnel, and it has been at the root of an increased number of suicides. Nationally, as many as 22 veterans commit suicide every day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"For returning vets who may be unable to cope, dealing with a termination notice from SMECO could be the last straw," said Austin J. Slater, Jr., SMECO president and CEO. "If we can help prevent just one tragic death by reaching out to the men and women who have served our country, then this program will have been worthwhile."
What is SMECO doing?
For new customers, SMECO’s customer service personnel are empowered to waive the service application fee and the customer deposit for eligible veterans and military personnel.
For existing customer-members, customer service personnel may grant a payment extension to eligible veterans or active military personnel in need of assistance.
Beyond that support, customer-members will be directed to work with Tami Gardiner, SMECO’s Credit and Collections Director. According to Gardiner, "We've been contacting local agencies that provide services to veterans and military personnel, as well as organizations that provide funds to support veterans, and they have been enthusiastic about SMECO’s new initiative. We are reaching out to agencies because they can promote this program to the people who need it."
What is SMECO’s goal?
SMECO’s goal is to help someone who is suffering from a stress disorder get one step closer to a normal life. But, many people with a military background are reluctant to ask for help. Friends and family members who know someone in need of assistance can help by making eligible customers aware of SMECO’s Patriot Connect program.
By making it easier for people with PTSD, combat stress, or related trauma to accomplish everyday tasks, we hope to help customer-members—people who have risked their lives in service to our country—with reintegrating into the community.