Dave Rogers Sr. Vice Commander of Post 2913 and Junior Vice Commander for Suffolk County Council met with the Suffolk County Veterans Advisory Board to discuss issues concerning veterans across Suffolk County. Included in those talks were the topics of “Liver Fluke”, the Suffolk County Court and the Veterans Homeless Shelter at the North Port VA.
“Liver Fluke” is an on going issue that the Suffolk County Veterans Service is trying to get more answers on. At this time there has only been a small study done on Liver Fluke (50 Veterans) it was found that in that study 25% of the participants have some form of Liver Fluke and 1 of those in the study has died from Liver Fluke related illnesses and another has had massive surgery to remove growths caused by Liver Fluke. The Suffolk County Veterans Advisory Board is asking that another 1000 Vietnam and Korean War veterans be tested.
Suffolk County Veterans Court has a new judge The Hon. John P. Cohalan, Jr. The Hon. John. J. Toomey has retired from this position and we would like to wish him well as he served the veterans of Suffolk and the Courts with Honor. Judge Cohalan looks forward to continuing to serve the veterans of Suffolk County. Along with the court is the mentoring program, in were there are 12 mentors (all veterans) who work with veterans in need through the courts. Currently there are 11 men and 1 woman on the Mentoring program to work with veterans who need help getting back to a healthy life.
Building 11 (Beacon House) the Homeless Shelter for veterans at the Northport VA has been closed due to the pipes in the heating room bursting. The facility houses 43 veterans (men and women) who need the services of the Northport VA medical facility and treatment programs. Due to its shutdown those veterans have had to be replaced throughout Long Island’s other shelters, making it difficult to get to their programs. It has also added increased stress on the shelters run by Beacon House as they are now at MAXED CAPACITY. Any veterans now seeking emergency shelter may now be turned away due to lack of beds. The other concern to the program is that those veterans who were in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse had to leave most of their belongings behind, taking only what they can carry. This disruption in their program and housing may cause some of these veterans to fall back on bad habits.
Suffolk County Veterans Service will continue to address these issues both at the Northport VA and also with the Veterans Board in Washington.