Douglasville organization aims to improve lives of veterans, first responders

A metro-Atlanta organization is working to honor and serve the service men and women along with first responders.

Operation Not Forgotten is based out of Douglasville and the goal of the organization is straightforward.

"We help veterans, and their families build a better quality of life," Steve Schiffman said.

Schiffman is the founder and executive director of the organization. He is an Air Force veteran. He decided to start the non-profit because he saw a lot of need in the community.

"A lot of times when a veteran transitions into civilian life they don't have a lot of people that they can trust," Schiffman said.

He is working to help fix that by opening veteran peer support groups. One recently opened at a church in Lawrenceville. They have different programs for men, women, families, and children. They also have groups specifically for first responders.

"The camaraderie that they had before. A lot of times when veterans transition, unless they belong to an organization, they don't have that kind of camaraderie and fellowship," he said.

The organization also helps veterans identify their own needs and navigate VA Benefits that could help them through a quality of life assessment the organization created.

"It measures emotional, mental health, many physical dimensions, quality of health, diet, and support systems, depression and on and on and on," he said.

Recently, they were also able to help house a veteran and his family experiencing homelessness.

"They fell on real hard times, one thing after another, and they had no place to live," he said.

Now they are working on a way to help grow the organization by opening food trucks to earn more money.

"One hundred percent of that money will go back into Operation Not Forgotten to spread our free program throughout the United States," Schiffman said.

He says it's all to help give back to those who have already given so much.

"I would say without sounding mystical or dramatic, it's a calling," he said.

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