“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation”
– General George Washington
Last Friday, September 20, 2013, a large percentage of Community Health Center staff members from around the state attended the annual Stand Down event at the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs located in Rocky Hill, CT. The purpose of the event is to provide a number of different services to those who so bravely served and protected our country. Some of the services include medical screenings, both state and federal veteran benefit information, legal and motor vehicle assistance, employment and educational assistance, along with free transportation to and from the event. All 8 (myself included) AmeriCorps volunteers, first got there at 5:45AM and began setting up, what would be a very successful day at the Veterans Affairs. The services provided by CHC came two-fold, as we both set up a tent for CHC service awareness as well as brought our mobile dental team to perform on those in need. Not only did the dental team perform basic cleaning measures but also performed tooth extractions, and other more surgical based practices. The dental space included 9 seats, 7 dental hygienist, and 2 medical dentists. “CHC’s participation in events like Stand Down, really make me proud to work here! I see how much it means to the veterans and that makes it all worth it,” Tara Tremblay, on site dental hygienist, explains. Tremblay has attended the event for the past three years and hopes to continue her participation throughout the years.
Hours following the conclusion of the event, our CEO Mark Masselli emailed all those who were involved and shared the following words:
“Another great year for CHC at Stand down – the annual event which brings homeless Veterans from all of Connecticut to Rocky Hill’s Veterans Home. The event links veterans with health and wellness services, job placement and workforce training support, and information on state and federal benefits
We had a great crew of staff who got up very early and worked all day – warmly welcoming every veteran with open arms. Many thanks to our facilities crew for getting things set up and the Residents , AmeriCorps staff, Ryan White team , Dental ( set up their mash unit) , BH staff , Public Relations and numerous other staff from far and wide.
We also honored the Commissioner of Veteran Affairs, Linda Schwartz, for her many years of service as a Nurse, Veteran and visionary leader who is heading off to Washington DC as our President has asked her to serve as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.”
We all, as American citizens, live in the land of the free only because we truly are the home of the brave. These men and women sacrificed their own being for the betterment of this country and fight for the security of our families. Therefore it is so important to show our appreciation for all the work they have done. As political activist, Vicky Hartzler explains, “Always [be] aware of the sacrifices paid by our veterans, we must never allow the services we promised them to go unfilled. Great nations keep their commitments. Our veterans did more than their part. We must honor our covenant with them.” If we wish to continue having the luxury of freedom and security, we need to continue displaying our appreciation for their services. In conclusion, Stand Down is truly a beautiful event and I am very grateful to have been a part of it.