NEK VETERANS SUMMIT. The Lyndon State College Veterans Club, in partnership with the LSC Veterans Student Support Committee and other veteran service organizations, will be hosting the NEK Veterans Summit at the college on Saturday, March 9. The purpose is to bring veterans, their families, and veteran service organizations together to build relationships, stronger connections, and an enhanced regional support network.
Vermont’s U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will deliver the summit address at 2 p.m. Sanders will discuss the current status of veteran’s issues on Capitol Hill and subsequently answer questions from the audience. Executive Director of Student Veterans of America, Michael Dakduk, will give the opening address. Dakduk has contributed more than 4000 volunteer service hours to SVA. He has won the U.S. President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award as well as several awards for academic achievement and leadership.
Washington, D.C.-based award-winning author and journalist Kristin Henderson is the keynote speaker. Her articles appeared in the Washington Post Magazine, The New York Times, and Military.Com among others. She has appeared on NBC’s “Weekend Today Show,” MSNBC, BBC, and she has contributed to NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Fresh Air,” and Australian radio. Henderson is a staff member of the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a nonprofit that assists injured service members and their families. She is married to a Navy chaplain who served with the Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There will be two rounds of four different breakout sessions. The breakout sessions are “PTSD Over the Long Haul: The Experience of Vietnam Veterans” moderated by Greg MacDonald, “Veterans, Law Enforcement, and the Criminal Justice System” led by Bob Holmes, “Military Families and Children: Dealing with Post-Deployment Adjustment” moderated by Paul Gibeault, and “Veterans Helping Veterans: The Importance of Connecting with Other Veterans” moderated by Chara Vincelette and Thomas Cahalan. Round one runs from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; the second round begins after Senator Sanders speaks, from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. A free lunch will be provided. Closing remarks are at 4:30 p.m., followed by one last chance to connect with service organizations or Admissions staff from Lyndon State College.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be hosting a one-day “Stand Down.” A Stand Down is a community–based intervention program designed to help homeless veterans. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the program has become recognized as the most valuable outreach tool to help homeless veterans. The Stand Down is a collaborative event involving community providers who help connect homeless Veterans with needed food, shelter, clothing, health screenings and VA and Social Security benefits counseling. It also provides referrals to other necessary services such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment.
A Mobile Vet Center will also be available throughout the Summit. The Vet Center is a 30-foot long bus based in White River Junction, Vt. It offers a wide range of free services designed to help any combat veteran make a successful transition from military to civilian life. The services include readjustment counseling and medical and benefits referrals.
In addition, staff from Operation: Military Kids will be on hand to provide recreational activities for children ages six and up so their parents can attend the Summit. When National Guard, Reserve, and other military parents living in civilian communities become mobilized, their children experience the stress of being a military kid. These “suddenly military” families and their children have unique support and services needs. Operation: Military Kids creates opportunities for kids to connect with other youth in similar situations.
Advance registration for the Summit is required; attendance is limited to 200 participants. To register or to learn more, visit http://www.lyndonstate.edu/VeteransSummit. For more information, contact LSC Veterans Club advisor Thom Anderson at 802.751.9815 or Thomas.Anderson@lyndonstate.edu. St. Johnsbury’s Mobile Medical International Corporation is the summit’s Platinum sponsor, Vermont Broadcast Associates is the event’s media sponsor.
Admissions counselors from LSC will host a “Decision Day” and will be on hand all day to assist any veteran interested in attending Lyndon. A Decision Day allows prospective students to hand in their application materials in the morning and receive word on their application in the afternoon. Prospective student veterans are urged to contact the admissions office at Admissions@lyndonstate.edu or 802.626.6413 or 800.225.1998 in order to expedite the application process.