Incoming Commander Dave Rogers attended the May meeting of the Suffolk County Veterans Advisory Board, where the following items were discussed.
- Armed Forces Day will be moved into the Downstairs Plaza at the H. Lee Dennison Building inside the building due to projected rain. Tony Davis, Senior Regional Experience Officer will be the guest speaker.
- During the month of June, Suicide Awareness Month, Veterans Services will be placing at the H. Lee Dennison Building, right of the Armed Forces Monument 660 US Flags equaling the 22 veterans a day that committee suicide per month and 30 US Flags equaling the 1 active soldier per day that committees suicide per month. While reflecting on this we discussed the issue that more soldiers are being deployed multiple times, and after deployment being sent either to a new unit, or having to return home to civilian life for National Guard and Reserves, only to be called up again after a few months. We also talked about the fact that many of them once model soldiers, become less then honorable discharges because of PTSD, giving them no access to the VA to handle their problems. For those that are in this situation, the Veterans Services in Suffolk will follow up to see if this is the cause of your discharge and not just turn you away. For those that also don’t have access or are waiting for access there is the Dwyer program that helps veterans regardless of their discharge status. The only exception to discharge status at the VA is those that suffer from Military Sexual Trauma.
- The Veteran POD at the Yaphank Prison will be getting a service dog. In an attempt to lesson the Recidivism, which at the Veteran POD is the lowest at only 5-6%, by not only having a service dog in residence, but also by bringing in a trainer who will teach the veterans in the POD how to be a service dog trainer in apprenticeship. Allowing them to not only seek, but have training in a job when they get out. The service dog and trainers will be provided by Paws of War.
- There were not a lot of applications for grants through the Suffolk County Marathon, there will be a planned training for the future grants. The next marathon is Oct 28th.
- Members of the Suffolk County Veterans Advisory Board have been invited to attend the State of the County, more info to come after the speech.
- Veterans Services will be moving to the South side of the building in the next couple of weeks, the great thing about the new offices is that each service officer will have an individual office to better ensure veterans privacy.
- The new Vet Center and expanded clinic in Riverhead is in the final stages. There is already a full time Veterans Service Officer stationed in Riverhead, and they might put another based on the increase in veterans going to the Riverhead clinic and Center.