Hundreds of veterans, their family members, and over 50 exhibitors are expected this Saturday, March 15, at the 2nd Annual NEK Veterans Summit at Lyndon State College.
The day-long event brings veterans, their families, and veteran service organizations together to build relationships, strengthen connections, and enhance the regional support network. The Lyndon State College Veterans Club hosts the event in partnership with the LSC Veterans Student Support Committee
Major Adam Sacchetti, the Inspector-Instructor for Company A, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, Brunswick, Maine, will deliver the opening address at 9:30 a.m. in the Alexander Twilight Theatre. He has seen combat action in the Kandahar and Oruzgan Provinces of Afghanistan and in Fallujah, Iraq. As 2nd Platoon Commander for the 2nd Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) Company, Sacchetti was deployed to Naval Stations Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Rota, Spain. He graduated with distinction from Expeditionary Warfare School, and then assumed duties as the Commanding Officer of Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines.
Sacchetti’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device, the Purple Heart Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.
The Keynote Speaker D. Wayne Robinson, president and chief executive officer of Student Veterans of America, follows the opening address. Robinson rose to the rank of command sergeant major in the U.S. Army and graduated from every enlisted leadership course offered by the Army. He served as the liaison and operations sergeant for Delta Force. He has over 39 awards recognizing his valuable contributions including the Order of Saint Barbara, the Glen E. Morrell Medallion, and six Meritorious Service Medals.
Deborah Amdur, director of the White River Junction VA Medical Center, will deliver the Summit address at 1 p.m. Amdur will discuss developments taking place at the White River Junction VA Medical Center which will enhance services to veterans; she will also take questions from the audience. Prior to coming to Vermont, she was chief consultant for Care Management and Social Work Service with overall responsibility for five national programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs: National Social Work, Caregiver Support, Family Hospitality, Post Deployment Care Management, and the VA Liaison Program.
Special guest, Information Technician Master Chief Petty Officer Margaret Buckingham of the Naval Network Warfare Command, will speak at 2:30 p.m.
In conjunction with both the Summit and college’s Annual Cultural Festival, the Nulhegan Drummers of the Abenaki Nation will take to the stage in the Alexander Twilight Theatre from 3 to 4:15 p.m. The group will play veterans, warrior, and healing songs to “honor veterans in song and spirit.” The event is in the Alexander Twilight Theatre and is free and open to the public. Additionally, Chief Don Stevens will moderate one of the afternoon break-out sessions during the Summit. He will discuss warrior traditions, tribal war history, and warrior songs.
There will be a variety of breakout sessions offered throughout the day including “PTSD and TBI,” “therapy dogs and PTSD,” “women veterans,” “veterans employment benefits and opportunities,” “government consulting and entrepreneurship,” “navigating veterans benefits,” “education benefits 101 for student veterans,” and a “student veterans panel.” A free lunch will be provided to all registrants.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be hosting a one-day “stand down” as part of the summit. A stand down is a community-based intervention program designed 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.
A Mobile Vet Center will be on campus for the summit. The Vet Center, a 30 foot long bus, is operated by the White River Junction Vet Center. It provides readjustment counseling and information resources to combat veterans. More than 50 veteran service organizations will have information booths providing a one-stop-shop for veterans services, clubs, and resources.
To register or to learn more, visit http://www.lyndonstate.edu/VeteransSummit. For more information, contact LSC Veterans Club advisor Thom Anderson at Thomas.Anderson@lyndonstate.edu. or 802 626.6208.
In affiliation with the summit, the LSC Veterans Club, Q Burke, and the LSC Ski & Ride Club are sponsoring the first annual Ian Muller Rail Jam March 14 at Mid-Burke Lodge. All proceeds go to the Ian Muller Memorial Scholarship; an annual $1,000 scholarship to an LSC student veteran. A former ski instructor at Burke Mountain, Muller was killed during combat operations in Helmand Provence, Afghanistan, in March, 2011. Muller often volunteered to take the dangerous lead position during combat patrols; he said he did it because many of his colleagues had wives and children, and he did not. Donations to the scholarship can be made by contacting Sara Lussier at LSC at 802 626-6426 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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