Editorial: Local heroes, local support — veteran programs on Long Island

Editorial: Local heroes, local support — veteran programs on Long Island

Memorial Day is a solemn occasion, a time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. We pay our respects at cemeteries, hold parades and fly the flag at half-staff. But as we honor the fallen, let’s not forget the living veterans who carry the weight of their service.

Memorial Day can be a springboard for a broader conversation about supporting our veterans. New York State, Suffolk County and the Town of Brookhaven all offer a range of programs that address veterans needs, from health care and education to mental health services and job training. Here’s a breakdown of some of the resources available:

New York State:

● NYS Department of Veterans’ Services: The DVS is a one-stop shop for veterans, offering benefits that include counseling, education assistance, employment programs and more. Call 888-838-7697 or visit NYS Department of Veterans’ Services website at veterans.ny.gov to learn more.

● Benefits for Veterans and Families: The NYS Veterans Bill of Rights ensures priority in employment and training programs. Explore details on the New York State Assembly website at nyassembly.gov.

Suffolk County: 

● Suffolk County Veterans Service Agency: The VS agency provides veterans with a variety of services, including benefits assistance, health care navigation, and referrals to mental health resources. Reach out at 631-853-8387.

Town of Brookhaven:

● Brookhaven Division of Veterans Services: The department offers support with benefit claims, honors veterans through ceremonies and maintains a food pantry specifically for veterans and their families. Call the veterans service officer at 631-451-6574.

Beyond government agencies:

● Veterans Service Organizations: These national organizations, like the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans, provide camaraderie, advocacy and social events for veterans. Local chapters often offer additional resources. Find a VSO near you through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at www.va.gov.

This is not an exhaustive list. Many local charities and organizations offer programs specifically tailored to veterans needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local veteran service agency or VSO chapter for further guidance.

But government programs can only go so far. We, as a community, need to step up as well. Let’s reach out to veterans in our neighborhoods, check in on their well-being and offer a helping hand. Simple acts of kindness can go a long way in showing our appreciation for their service. Memorial Day should extend throughout the whole year.


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