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Louisiana Veteran’s Affairs Group Tours HERO Program

OPELOUSAS, LA:  HERO Program in Opelousas was honored to host an April 29, 2021 fact finding meeting and tour for Colonel Joey Strickland, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, (LDVA) and his staff members, Billy Robbins, veteran courts  Julie Baxter Payer, executive counsel, and Dustin Guy. deputy chief-of-staff.

Johnny Patout, Managing Partner of HERO Program and Craig Laseur, Program Manager were joined by other HERO program staff members in answering questions posed by the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs leaders regarding the services offered by the HERO program and their approach to helping Veterans in their personal recovery.  Patout commented, “LVDA and HERO share a common mission of caring for Veterans of all branches of the US Military.  It was our pleasure to host the leadership of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs in their quest to learn more about our services as provided to our military veterans. Touring our campus and meeting with our treatment staff face-to-face gave them the opportunity to experience first-hand what our Veterans see and experience while enrolled in the Hero program.”

Secretary Strickland commented, “With over 280,000 veterans and their families in the state of Louisiana for whom we serve as advocates, it is vital that our agency become familiar with programs in our state that help ensure the health, wellness, and security in life due these veterans.   Our tour of the HERO Program gave us the chance to ask questions, see their facilities, and learn first-hand what is the latest in treatment services being provided to help our veterans.  It is of great comfort knowing that the Louisiana Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the HERO Program both share an important goal, that being ‘Leave No Veteran Behind’.”

While on tour, the LDVA team viewed group therapy rooms, residential complexes, administration facilities, and the site of a future, state-of-the-art. fitness center for the Here program patients.  Secretary Strickland also was able to spend considerable time conversing with the program’s veterans, a gesture that was a greatly appreciated by those whom he visited.

The HERO’s program’s Craig Laseur remarked during the LDVA tour, “It is vital that we work hand in hand with the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs if we are to provide even more of our veterans with help and hope. As a veteran myself, as are many of our staff and their family members, we have a unique appreciation for, and understanding of, what our veterans, from whatever branch of the military they served in, are facing in their lives and in these challenging times.  Simply we are here to help them live as good a life as is possible.”

As Louisiana’s only substance use disorder and co-occurring treatment program exclusively serving veterans of all branches of the military, the HERO Program has developed a unique and effective program for those veterans experiencing conditions such as Substance Abuse, PTSD and co-occurring disorders related to their military service, combat experience, and their day-to-day lives.

HERO Program has provided veterans services from its 21-acre campus located between Opelousas and Lafayette, Louisiana just off Interstate 49m since the program commenced in 2019.  The growing HERO campus currently features several residential complexes, group rooms, administration offices, central nurses stations, and a broad range of outdoor exercise facilities.   A new 4,000+ square foot recreational/fitness center will undergo construction beginning later in the summer of 2021.

More on the HERO program can be found on their website at www.heroprogramnb.com or by calling 337-942-1171 or 855-463-9234.  More on the services and work of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs as well as on VA benefits and Veteran resources can be found at their website at www.vetaffairs.la.gov or by calling (225) 219-5000 in Baton Rouge.