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red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Featured Stories / Letters / President's Message / VVAF Report / Government Relations / Ask The Parliamentarian / Veterans Benefits Update / Membership Affairs Committee Report / Legislators View / ETABO Committee Report / PTSD Substance Abuse Comittee Report / TAPS / Region 7 Report / AVVA Report / SHAD/Project 112 Task Force Report / Veterans Against Drugs Task Force Report / VetsConnect Report / Homeless Veterans Task Force Report / Women Veterans Committee Report / Arts of War / Book Review / Membership Notes / Chapter of The Year / Locator / Reunions

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VetsConnect REPORT

BY QUENTIN BUTCHER

Our mission remains true to the founding principle of Vietnam Veterans of America: Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another. We will stand together with today’s veterans and support the needs of all veterans of the Global War on Terrorism.

The goal of VetsConnect is for VVA to reach out to current veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. We want to establish long-lasting relationships with these veterans and show them our support as they make the transition from their deployment into civilian life. This is a way for VVA to establish trust with this next generation of service members and show that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them.

VVA chapters are already doing a lot to support younger veterans. Here’s a sampling.

Chapter 844, El Paso, Texas, hosted a dinner-dance for Medical Hold Company soldiers, hosted BBQs, and provided Thanksgiving dinners for soldiers away from home

Chapter 761, Orlando, Florida, gave gift cards and Christmas baskets to families and sent care packages to service members.

Chapter 822, Marion, Ohio, held a Veteran Appreciation Night dinner to honor returning veterans.

Chapter 185, Orrington, Maine, welcomed home and said farewell to troops at Bangor International Airport.

Chapter 886, New Bern, North Carolina, sent care packages to service members.

Chapter 483, Yauco, Puerto Rico, bid farewell to troops at the airport.

Chapter 959, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, conducted information seminars on the educational needs of veterans at the University of South Dakota.

Chapter 957, Williamsburg, Virginia, welcomed home troops and donated goods to veterans.

Chapter 820, Bend, Oregon, helped new veterans with VA claims and provided referral assistance for mental health and substance abuse.

Chapter 871, Paradise, Montana, built a wheelchair ramp for a returning veteran.

Here are some suggestions for local chapters for continuing support of our newest veterans:

Reach out to veterans as they come home; be a friend and be someone they can talk to

Send care packages

Adopt a unit when it comes home; have dinners and holiday parties for single service members who can’t go home

Provide such services as group therapy led by trained specialists

Conduct informational meetings for the public on how veterans may be different after they return.

TELL US WHAT YOU ARE DOING

Most of all, we would like to know what you are doing to help at the local level. In addition to publishing your programs in The VVA Veteran, we will place them on the VetsConnect website, http: //vetsconnect.org Send information to:

VetsConnect c/o VVA
8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Please include all pertinent data, such as chapter number, location, what you did, how it helped, and how many soldiers benefited. Include news articles and photos so we can post them on the website.

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