Guest Post: Devin B. Holmes
In today’s world, we use high tech solutions and the power of other people’s opinions, insights and experiences to make decisions. The same way we look to Yelp to help us find where to go to dinner, Rotten Tomatoes to help us decide what movie to see or Trip Advisor on where to vacation and what hotel to stay in. And yet our veterans don’t have access to those same tools when deciding on where to go for healthcare, job opportunities, family assistance or education and training?
After returning home from active duty, our servicemen and women often face a new battle at home. And while the treatments for their injuries are sometimes complex, their desires are simple and straightforward. They want to recover, find their new normal life, and enjoy time with their family and friends. And yet many still ask that simple question: “Where do I go for help?”
WarriorGateway.org launched in March 2010 to answer four basic questions: 1) Where does a veteran go for help in their local community? 2) How do they know who is the best at what they do? 3) How do we find the gaps in service and fill them? 4) How do we get the information in front of a veteran at the right time?
Based on research done in 2009, we knew that our technology challenges were not platform oriented; they were data oriented. We had to ensure a high quality standard of data, and couldn’t just have a list of URL’s and pass people to another website. We needed to show as much contact information as possible to connect users with a live person.
Our mission also included allowing our users to help us grow and improve the data we have. Not only do we allow users to flag, à la Craigslist, any profiles that are incorrect, spam, fraudulent, etc, we also let our users rate and comment on each one of those profiles because they’re the best ones to help each other find the best organizations to support them.
We also wanted allow innovators to build on top of our data so we created an API to give folks the ability to build cool web and mobile apps on top of our database. Our philosophy is there should be no wrong door when our veterans and their families ask for help. No matter what website, mobile app, call center or printed directory is used, we believe that veterans and their families should always find consistent and accurate answers. Warrior Gateway’s mission is to be the most complete resource directory available via our site or our API’s so our veterans and their families find the answers they need.
Looking to the future, this summer we’re launching a sister site focused on military families so they too will have the best access to local organizations and the ability to share their experiences. It’s about time our veterans and their families had a voice.
As CEO of Warrior Gateway, Devin B. Holmes is part of the 99% of Americans who have not served in the military but believes that we should all do our part to support and help those who have served. This is his way of giving back.
Warrior Gateway connects individuals in the military community with organizations and programs (non-profit, government, educational or employment-related) in their neighborhood that are there to support them. By harnessing state-of-the art technology and community collaboration, today’s veterans can make better decisions about what service providers they can go to for help, and have a public forum to share their experiences about the quality and effectiveness of those services. For more information, please visit: www.warriorgateway.org.