COMMUNITY COMES TOGETHER TO HONOR AND REMEMBER VETERANS
On Saturday, November 16, Community College of Beaver County and the office of Senator Elder Vogel, Jr. partnered with organizations from across the county to host a Veterans Salute Breakfast, a one-stop event where veterans and families could meet with each other and learn more about the local resources available to them.
By offering table sponsorships to local businesses and organizations, the College raised over $4000 and was able to host close to 350 veterans and families plus around 100 volunteers who helped welcome the veterans and serve them breakfast.
The Veterans Salute Breakfast brought the community together to remember military members of past and present. The event provided a way to remember those who served through the White Table Ceremony as well as a 21-Gun Salute and Taps by the Beaver County Special Unit. Greetings and messages of thanks were delivered by the Governor’s office, Congressman Keith Rothfus, State Representative Jim Marshall, and Beaver County Commissioner Joe Spanik.
In addition, veterans and their families could meet with local agencies who are dedicated to helping them, including representatives from the Beaver County Veterans Affairs Office; the Department of Veterans Affairs; NAMI Beaver County; PA CareerLink Beaver County; The Cornerstone, which offers support services for veterans and their families; and more.
“NAMI [National Alliance of Mental Illness] Beaver County has been working with the military to make veterans, active military and their families aware of the consequences of untreated mental illnesses,” said Laurel Beitsinger of NAMI. She continued, “We inform them that treatment works and recovery is possible. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, support and research. We are committed to raising awareness and building a community of hope.”
Organizations were also on hand to discuss job opportunities, training and services to help with the transition from military to civilian life.
“I find that each vet has his or her own particular needs and expectations,” said John (Jack) Lyden, Veterans Employment Representative at PA CareerLink Beaver County. “Some transitioning veterans are ready to enroll in college or get that first job while others need time to settle in, receive treatment for physical and emotional injuries, and heal. Only through discussion and assessment can the appropriate services be determined, planned, and provided.”
The importance of the having these agencies at-hand at the breakfast event is due to the fact that many veterans do not know of all the available resources.
“Even those who do [know of the available resources] are often surprised at the depth and breadth of services available,” said Lyden. “From help applying for disability benefits and using the GI Bill; writing resumes and direct referrals for employment; and providing access to emergency assistance and food stamps, we provide a portal for veterans to successfully transition into civilian life.”
By garnering community support, the College provided veterans and their families with an opportunity to not only gather with other veterans and remember their service but also to gain a new support system through the agencies in attendance.
Additional event photos can be found on the College's Facebook Page: http://bit.ly/CCBCvets2013