ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- More than 30 agencies and organizations were represented at the Veterans Supermarket of Benefits and Suicide Prevention Fair hosted by Anniston Army Depot Sept. 28 at the Anniston Meeting Center.

The event, which was free and open to the public, connects Veterans and active duty military members with services throughout the community and region.

Jose Carillo, the assistant regional director for AMVETS manned a booth at the event. He said he tries to attend any event which is focused on Veterans, so he can assist them in getting health care they need.

"A lot of Veterans are not aware of what they are entitled to, especially when it comes to the Veterans Administration," Carillo said.

Many of the organizations present were focused on the health of Soldiers and Veterans. More than 17 organizations present had healthcare as one of their missions or their primary mission.

Col. (retired) Greg Potts, in his keynote address to the group also focused on health, discussing the toll anxiety, stress and depression can have on an individual and giving tips for ensuring Veterans remain in good health.

"Life does not need to be lived in isolation. Life is a team sport," Potts said, as he encouraged everyone to speak with health care providers or religious leaders about the struggles they go through.

He discussed his own battles with depression and how a chaplain for his battalion in the early '90s helped him understand his vital role for the Army and how subsequent counselors and clergy members have helped reinforce his self-worth.

"Folks are here," he told those in attendance. "They are here to help."

Potts recommended everyone perform a self-awareness check periodically with someone you trust - whether it is a spouse, pastor, counselor or friend. This should be a check to enable you to see issues which may only be visible to those who interact with you.

He also recommended visiting a medical doctor to learn if any mental conditions you are experiencing may have medical causes and, therefore, solutions.

"Often anxiety and depression have true medical bases," said Potts. "Parts of your body may not be cooperating with other parts of your body and that can lead to anxiety and depression."

In addition to those in health-related fields, several career counseling agencies were on hand.

David Doyle represented Citizen Soldier for Life, which focused primarily on National Guard Soldiers, assisting in résumé services and other career counseling.

Employees from ANAD's Army Community Service were also on site to share information about assistance and career services.


Services at ANAD for Veterans, military

Army Community Service is an Army-wide community, social service program that provides services that assist Soldiers, Family members, and Department of the Army civilians maintain readiness, develop self-reliance, resiliency and stability.

U.S. Army Installation Management Command provides these services through a network of programs that support goals related to recruitment, retention, morale, and operational readiness of the force.

ACS offers programs to active and reserve component Soldiers and Families through ACS Centers and community outreach services.

Programs available include: Army Family Action Plan, Army Family Team Building, Army Volunteer Corps, Exceptional Family Member Program, Employment Readiness Program, Family Advocacy Program, Financial Readiness Program, Army Emergency Relief, Information and Referral, Mobilization and Deployment Readiness Program, Relocation Readiness Program, Survivor Outreach Services and Soldier and Family Assistance Centers.

Contact 256-235-7445 for information.

Anniston Army Depot offers a variety of MWR facilities to depot employees, retirees, active duty military, military retirees and Veterans.

Facilities include Cone reservoir and the Jones Knoll fishing lakes; a skills development center with woodworking equipment; a Physical Fitness Center with cardio equipment, weight machines, free weights, workout videos and a trainer who can assist in developing a workout plan; post restaurants; a shoppette; and a Child Development Center.