Thursday, July 4, 2013

VETS 4 | Suffolk County Offers Weekly Service to Vets

This is Mark and he is dressed up as an American
 militiaman, circa 1754-1763, during the French
 and Indian War. This reenactment was June 30,
2013, at the Sulgrave Manor in England.
Photo by JT Marlin.
As we Americans celebrate Independence Day, it is worth reflecting on what made Independence possible, namely the voluntary services of American militiamen in the French and Indian War, which drove out the French and their Indian allies from the colonies and made it possible for the colonies to declare their independence from Britain.

In England last week I stumbled upon a reenactment of the French and Indian War at the Sulgrave Manor, near Bambury, in Northamptonshire, which is generous of these Brits. After all, it was the costly debts incurred during the French and Indian War that drove George III foolishly to seek to pay them off by taxing on the colonies.

We should remember our debt to these militiamen (and to the British soldiers who fought next to us for a time). But these soldiers are long gone. We can do something more practical to remember our debt to more recent veterans.

The recent Gulf Wars have killed fewer Americans but have generated more injuries among the survivors, including mental trauma.

Suffolk County, New York, has a very practical way of showing respect to veterans. It supports a one-day-a-week counselor for Vets in each community.The county assigns a trained Veterans Service Officer who shows up at a local town hall office from 10 am to 4 pm to answer questions.

The town must provide the space and must also pay $8,000 a year towards the cost of the VSO. Southampton Town has approved the expenditure. The VSO will provide the following services:

  • Facilitate access to counseling and other services to which the Veteran is entitled.
  • Advise the families of Veterans of the services available to them - the spouses of Veterans, their dependents, and their survivors.
  • Determine qualification for benefits.
  • Help prepare applications for benefits.
  • Track applications.
  • Answer any other questions about Veteran educational, loan and other programs.
These VSO services could be leveraged by local Veterans organizations to provide assistance to Veterans who are too disabled to visit the VSO's office. Two Post Commanders - Martin Knab of Post 388 in Sag Harbor and Rich Steiber of Post 924 in Hampton Bays - welcomed the program. 

Thanks to Emily Toy of the Independent for her story on this subject.

No comments:

Post a Comment