Correction: An earlier version of this guest essay was unclear about how veterans can receive help from the Denton County Veterans Center.

With more than 45,000 veterans in Denton County, it is appropriate to recognize all of the men and women who have served our country during National Military Appreciation Month in May.

This observance encourages the appreciation of those who have served in our armed forces as well as their families, who have supported them.

Established in 1999 by Congress, this designated month is specifically designed to guide the public in showing their appreciation. It is fitting that May was selected for this purpose as there are several days already honoring the military, including Memorial Day for our fallen personnel, V-E Day, which signifies the end of World War II in the European Theater in 1945, and Armed Forces Day.

If you know a veteran, I would encourage you to take a minute to thank them for their service. Offer them a handshake or buy them a cup of coffee. Each veteran has contributed many hours, days, weeks, months and years to ensure our way of life is protected.

This month also raises awareness about the issues they face locally. United Way of Denton County has joined the Denton County Homelessness Leadership Team, the Denton County Homeless Coalition, the Denton County Behavioral Health Leadership Team’s Veteran Workgroup, area communities, the county and others to end veteran homelessness in Denton County. A goal was set on April 1 to end homelessness within 100 days or by July 10. As of the end of March, 25 veterans were identified as experiencing homelessness in Denton County.

The collaborative group meets several times weekly to work on solutions for each veteran needing assistance, including leveraging resources, contacting housing providers and working with connections to move Denton County veterans in need into housing as quickly as possible.

If you know a veteran in need, help them find the connections through the Denton County Veterans Service Office at dentoncounty.gov/859/Veterans-Service. Those seeking services also may call 940-349-3597, complete a referral with the Veteran Community Navigators at bit.ly/3ueB7CN or contact Elishia Baxter at 940-566-5851, ext. 113.

God bless you and your family, and God bless Denton County!

RYAN WILLIAMS, Precinct 1 county commissioner, can be reached at 940-349-2810 or ryan.williams@dentoncounty.gov. You can sign up for his newsletter at matt.armstrong@dentoncounty.gov.