Connecting veterans: Countywide groups offer variety of resources, support to those who served


Hamilton County is home to more than 13,000 veterans, dozens of support organizations and many willing volunteers, but sometimes it’s difficult to bring them together.

Bill Doss, secretary of the Hamilton County Veterans Corp., is working to change that. He pens a quarterly newsletter highlighting the work of several local organizations with a shared goal of benefiting veterans in the area. It’s just one initiative of many aimed at getting the word out and growing the network of support.

“We are working to locate veterans in need. Many struggle to return to society,” Doss said.

Founded in 2002, HCVC is committed to supporting veterans and their families. It facilitates donation drives, sends care packages to active-duty members from Hamilton County, provides mobility assistance devices and helps veterans with basic needs, like transportation to medical appointments.

“We have continued to grow a grassroots network that allows us to help connect those wanting to help with those who need the help. A lot of people, veterans and nonveterans, want to help, but they just don’t know how. Sometimes a little compassion/sweat equity goes a lot further than money ever could,” said Lynn Epperson, founding member of the HCVC. Her passion for veterans stems from the loss of her uncle in the Vietnam War.

HCVC holds monthly meetings at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the Fishers American Legion Post 470 at 9091 E 126th St.

A signature event in connecting veterans and their families to services is HCVC’s Hamilton County Community Resource Fair. Doss took the initiative to organize the first Hamilton County Veterans Resource Fair in July 2023. The next fair is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 20 at the Noblesville Community Center, 1775 Field Dr.

More than 60 booths will include representatives from Federal VA Benefits, Roudebush VA Hospital, Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs and many employment, health care, insurance and local organizations providing resources to veterans and their families.

HCVC isn’t the only local organization committed to supporting and connecting veterans.

As director of coordination for a Healthier Hamilton County Systems of Care and Stronger Veterans Stronger Communities Coalition, Kristen Ludeker-Seibert recognizes the vastness of the task to inform and unite veterans and invites community participation.

“The most meaningful thing to me is that there are a lot of people committed to reducing suicide and to connecting veterans and service members to help, and that they just needed a place to come together and work with one another instead of independently and in silence,” Ludeker-Seibert said.

The first county in Indiana to initiate the Governor’s Challenge on veteran suicide prevention with the IDVA, Hamilton County started the SVSC in 2021.

The coalition works to get the word out about firearms safety and create awareness for the 988 crisis and suicide prevention line with booths at farmers markets and local events, including safety fairs.

“We’re also working to implement the Ask Questions Initiative, which is about changing the way that any organization interacts with veterans. Instead of, ‘Are you a veteran?’ The question is, ‘Did you or your family members serve in the U.S. military?’” Ludeker-Seibert said.

Ludeker-Seibert said the reframed question helps the group identify children and caregivers of veterans who may qualify for services they aren’t aware of.

“And when it comes to suicide prevention, it’s meeting those different dimensions of wellness as prevention,” Ludeker-Seibert said.

“Our nonprofit (Healthier Hamilton County Systems of Care) leads the initiative to fill in gaps in Hamilton County, and this was a gap that we had,” Ludeker-Seibert said. She worked with the VA and Hamilton County commissioners to launch SVSC. The coalition is made up of veteran service organizations, veterans and members of county government and volunteers.

Coalition meetings take place on the fourth Thursday of each month at noon, offered both in person at the Carmel VFW Post 10003 at 12863 Old Meridian St, Carmel and online. For more, email Kristen [email protected].

“Connecting veterans with resources and collaborating with the community ensures our ability and capacity to continue their legacy. This year’s initiative is to do everything to stop veteran suicide. Partnering with Hamilton County’s Stronger Veterans initiative, VA and other organizations provides the tools to identify situations and appropriately respond as needed.” said Darin Bibeau, Post 10003 commander.

CIC COVER 0402 Connecting veterans 3
From left, veteran Stewart Goodwin; Monica Kozlowski for U.S. Sen. Todd Young; HCVC President Ron Wilson; Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt; U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz; Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen; and Bill Doss, secretary of HCVC, at the 2023 veterans resource fair. (Photo courtesy of Bill Doss)

Stay informed

Bill Doss, secretary of the Hamilton County Veterans Corp., writes a quarterly newsletter to inform the community about the work local veterans service organizations/coalitions are doing.

“The more we all know about the local resources that are available to resolve our problems, the stronger and more connected we will be, and as we reach our neighbors who may feel alone that are not connected, maybe we can save a life along this journey,” Doss said.

For the most recent letter and more information about HCVC, visit