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Veteran's Day Aid for Veterans
Kaleb Banks
| November 11, 2011
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With ceremonies throughout Tompkin’s County, Veteran’s Day 2011 began as others would. Unlike the others, this year, veterans are promised more aid and incentives by the state leaders and even from their neighbors.

Yesterday, state leaders have announced several initiatives that would benefit veterans and current military personnel. As a method to help veterans qualify for jobs, Governor Cuomo announced his “Experience Counts” program. Along with that, many state departments are offering incentives for veterans to enter the job force.

For example, any veterans who served as medics could receive home health and nursing certification. Veterans who handled heavy machinery and drove vehicles could obtain a commercial license from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Veterans are being able to use their experience and training in the civilian world, to allow them to adjust to the differences as smoothly as possible. Veterans will be able to receive credit for coursework done within service from the SUNY system.

Governor Cuomo wishes to give the veterans “the credit they deserve for their military training.” With his program, the state government will serve those who serve us. Along with these benefits are additional health benefits, educational opportunities, and legal protection. Attorney General Schneiderman released a very detailed guide for veterans to access the resources that are available to them. Attorney General Schneiderman says, “ The debt that that our nation owes to military service members, veterans, and their families, can never truly be repaid.” His goal is to ensure that veterans are able to access the rights and benefits that they, their dependents and their survivors are entitled to. His guide includes both state and national benefits from foreclosures, to education, civil protections, and life insurance. A detailed description of this is available on the New York State Attorney General’s website.

While the state does as much as they can to repay our veterans, a grassroots movement called Southern Tier Veterans Support Group works to bring together organizations to provide support to veterans. The group was formed to address issues such as finances and education. The STVSG provides support where other groups and organizations fall short. They have provided information to veterans such as legal support at the Binghamton Vet Center and free meals at Applebee’s.

Its president, Al Eaton, formed the group after he heard about the conditions in which the veterans lived. The group has over 40 members who meet with professionals and community member to provide more services to the veterans. More information about the Southern Tier Veteran’s Support Group can be found on their Facebook group and their website in the work.

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