Tribes hire veteran rep
Frankie Williams has seen firsthand the difficult realities that many military veterans face – depression, substance abuse, PTSD, anger, homelessness and even suicide.
Over the years, he has earned certifications and worked with veterans to help address some of these issues.
Williams brings his experience to the more than 500 Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs military veterans in his new position as Warm Springs tribal veterans representative.
"My job duty is to be a bridge between the VA – the benefits that the VA offers – and the tribal veterans," Williams said, noting that he is not an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs but works for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
Williams is a federally recognized tribal member of the Tule River Tribe of California located on the Tule River Indian Reservation in Porterville, California. He is a 21-year retired Navy veteran and has traveled around the world. He was on three different carriers, many different A-7 squadrons and was a flight engineer on C-130s and 707s. Williams was also in Vietnam for a short time.
"I've got a lot of certifications over the last years, and so I'm hoping to bring that into play with the tribal veterans," Williams said.
He is a certified counselor for substance abuse, anger management and suicide prevention intervention. He worked as a consultant to the Department of Veterans Affairs in California before moving to Portland more recently.
Williams was looking for part-time work when he found the Warm Springs tribal veterans representative position. The position has been vacant for about two years, with the tribe, Warm Springs VFW, and Jefferson County Veterans' Service Officer Laura Moore helping serve tribal veterans in the meantime.
Williams started his new role on Nov. 23. He commutes from Portland to his office at Warm Springs Forest Products Industries three days a week and also works remotely. Because of the pandemic, he is not meeting with clients face-to-face.
He encourages tribal veterans to contact him if they need help with military service records, discharge paperwork, and to access veterans benefits. The VA helps provide medical, dental, education, pension and burial expenses. They can also provide mental health and alcohol and drug treatment screening and treatment if required.
Once the pandemic subsides, Williams would like to offer group sessions to address anger management, depression, PTSD and substance abuse for tribal veterans. He also would like to complete the memorial at the Museum at Warm Springs that honors tribal veterans.
Williams is glad he can help fellow veterans access their earned benefits and help them with other issues they may be dealing with.
"As veterans come back from active duty, they may need some type of representative to help them navigate their way through the VA process," Williams said.
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Veterans Representative Frankie Williams
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.