ELMIRA N.Y. (WENY) -- The ETS Sponsorship Program officially partnered with Tioga County's Veterans' Service Agency this past April, and hasn't looked back since.  

Tioga County Veterans’ Service Agency got together with multiple counties this April to get grant funding from The New York State Office of Mental Health. This week, they went to the Moving Wall at Eldridge Park to share the developments they have made to the program. The idea behind the ETS Sponsorship is how veterans are taught to prepare for battle but not how to come home.  

“The concept behind this originated from duty stations,” Michael Middaugh, Director of Tioga County New York Veterans’ Service Agency, said. “You would be given a sponsor at your new base you were going to. They would help you with any question before you arrive, and after you arrived; they were there to help you get settled.”  

Since receiving the grant, the Tioga County VA has taken the lead in developing the program. VA Director Michael Middaugh and his staff have become Community Integrated Coordinators and have been certified in training sponsors to work with veterans across the region.  

“We’ve been working hard to get all our training done,” Middaugh said. “Our job is to support the sponsors and the transitioning service members in making sure it's a good fit for them; that they're getting all the information they need.”  

Tioga County VA has also made progress with the program by providing online resources to veterans and their families. Middaugh says the new virtual dashboard will provide necessary resources at veterans' fingertips.  

“We're currently building the virtual dashboard,” Middaugh said. “The veteran will log in; they can send an email to their sponsor, the sponsor will then get on the virtual dashboard with them at a designated time, and they will talk about whatever the issues are.”  

More information about the ETS Sponsorship program can be found online. The Wall will be open to the public until 4 p.m. on July 4th.