Stand Up for Veterans open house highlights North Country needs
The citizen-soldiers' unit was then based in Berlin, and though there were several soldiers who were career military, most were part-time warriors, leaving jobs, family and friends behind to do what countless of their fellow North Country residents had done before them. They went to serve their country.
The center, located just south of the Wal-Mart on Route 16, offers professional readjustment counseling for veterans and their families, along with outreach services, and links to other V.A. services and community agencies.
He said that there is an extra layer of confidentiality at the center, so veterans don't have to be concerned with the information getting out to other agencies without their permission.
For those who want to talk with fellow veterans in a non-governmental setting, NH Vet-to-Vet has meetings throughout the state. In the North Country, the peer-driven support groups meet the first and third Tuesdays of the month at the Family Resource Center in Gorham from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Pastor Dave Canter of Lamb's Chapel Berlin said more outreach is needed as Vet to Vet moves forward. The Vietnam War veteran and Vet to Vet team leader appealed to those of all eras to help out.
Among the handouts at the event was the 2013 Homeless Veterans Resource guide for northern New Hampshire, Vermont and western Maine, with a number to call in case of crisis or homelessness printed clearly on the front:1-877-424-3838.
"There are many hidden homeless veterans,"said Jo Moncher, bureau chief of community based military programs at the state Department of Health and Human Services. She said all the groups that come together in this veterans' initiative make for "creative collaboration," adding, "That's nothing new for the North Country."
Retired U.S. Army Captain John Pagan spoke from the heart. "We carry our wounds deep in our souls," he said. "Sometimes we need to find somebody like Pastor Canter to talk to."
He said the negative effects from deployment can crop up years after serving. "Down the road, in the silence of the night, that's when those issues will come back."
For more information on the Berlin Vet Center, call 752-2571. For Vet to Vet, call 1-888-634-9412.
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