Commissioner says film’s impact can help Randolph County’s veterans

ASHEBORO – “The Veteran’s Battlefield” is a documentary that focuses on challenges for North Carolina veterans and it’s a valuable production as it relates to Randolph County, Hope Haywood said.

“We’re working to have healthier veterans right here in our communities,” said Haywood, a county commissioner.

The first of the documentary’s three screenings in Randolph County drew four dozen attendees Sunday to Sunset Theatre in Asheboro.

Haywood, who’s the county’s liaison for the documentary, said among the goals is to bring awareness to the plights of veterans in the county. She said it’s the responsibilities of officials on the county level to help connect veterans to services.

“We want to work on ways we can help meet those challenges that veterans face,” she said. “Not just the veterans, but also for their families. … We need to see what we can do as elected officials to make sure we’re meeting those commitments.”

A panel discussion follows each of the screenings. Sunday’s conversation was helpful, Haywood said.

“I think the panel discussion was every bit as good as the documentary,” she said. “I thought a lot of information was brought out that was very helpful, even for some of our older veterans.”

One younger veteran spoke about deciding to serve because he thought that was the right thing to do, not that he was seeking anything in return.

“They’re proud. They’ve worked hard,” Haywood said. “We’re hoping this (documentary) helped open their eyes that they’ve earned this.”

Making sure veterans are connected to federal benefits not only aids veterans, but it brings federal money into the county, Haywood said.

The documentary, which was produced by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ 100 Strong Productions, explores veterans’ challenges in North Carolina. There’s an emphasis on how counties and residents can support veterans.

North Carolina has about 700,000 veterans, marking the eighth-largest total for any state.

The screenings of the documentary come via a partnership with Randolph County.

The second showing is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Liberty Public Library and the final showing in the county is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Archdale Public Library.

By Bob Sutton