THE N.Y.C. VETERAN’S ALLIANCE

October 11, 2018 at 5:15 am

Our “Frontline to Home Front” series hits home with roughly 500,000 veterans and their families living in the city. We meet The NYC Veterans Alliance, a group that is trying to serve them all.

Aired on October 10, 2018. 

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>> DID YOU KNOW HALF A MILLION
VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILY
MEMBERS LIVE IN THE FIVE
BOROUGHS IN THIS PART OF OUR
SIERZ, "FRONTLINE TO HOME
FRONT," WE'RE INVESTIGATING THE
ISSUES THAT MATTER MOST TO OUR
VETERANS WHO OFTEN FACE A
DAUNTING CHALLENGE TRANSITIONING
TO CIVILIAN LIFE.
FROM VA HEALTH CARE CUTBACKS AND
REPORTS OF SUBSTANDARD CARE TO
EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL PROGRAMS,
MONTHLY MEETINGS, THE NYC
VETERANS ALLIANCE STAFFED AND
LED BY VETERANS HAS BEEN WORKING
TO SUPPORT THEIR OWN FELLOWS.
JOINING US TONIGHT WITH THEIR
STORY, THE STORIES OF OTHERS WHO
HAVE GIVEN SO MUCH FOR THE
COUNTRY, NYC VETERANS ALLIANCE
FOUNDER KRISTIN ROUSE AND ADRIAN
BRAMER, BOTH OF WHOM HAVE SERVED
THEIR COUNTRIES.
WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU WITH
US.
CHRIS, I'LL START WITH YOU, AS
SOMEONE INVOLVED IN THE
CREATION, HOW DID THIS
ORGANIZATION GET STARTED AND WHY
DID IT GET STARTED?
>> SO, YOU KNOW, FIRST THANKS SO
MUCH FOR HAVING US ON HERE AND
FOR BRINGING US ON TO TELL OUR
STORY.
>>> WHEN I CAME HOME FROM MY
THIRD TOUR OF DUTY IN
AFGHANISTAN, I CAME HOME IN
EARLY 2013 AND I KNOW THAT I
NEEDED HELP CONNECTING WITH
OTHER VETERANS AND REALLY LIKE
FINDING THE COMMUNITY AND THE
SUPPORT THAT I NEEDED TO FEEL
LIKE I WAS BACK HOME IN NEW YORK
CITY.
AND IT WAS A STRUGGLE TO FIND
INFORMATION.
AND ALSO AS SOMEBODY WHO IS
PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT'S
HAPPENING AT CITY -- IN CITY
GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS STATE
GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS WHAT'S
HAPPENING NATIONALLY, I NOTICED
THAT VETERANS AND FAMILY MEMBERS
WERE BARELY A POLITICAL
AFTERTHOUGHT IN OUR CITY
GOVERNMENT AT THAT TIME.
THERE WAS A VERY, A VERY TINY
MAYORAL OFFICE THAT WAS
DEDICATED TO VETERANS AT THAT
TIME.
AND I LOOKED AROUND AND TALKED
WITH OTHER MEMBERS OF OUR
VETERANS COMMUNITY AND OTHER
ADVOCATES, OLDER VETERANS WHO
HAD BEEN PAYING ATTENTION FOR
SOMETIME.
AND EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE QUITE A
NUMBER OF VETERANS IN THE NEW
YORK METRO AREA, WE'RE NOT
REALLY CONCENTRATED LIKE IN
OTHER STATES, LIKE TEXAS, YOU
KNOW, OR OTHER LOCATIONS THAT
ARE MUCH MORE FOCUSED ON TALKING
ABOUT VETERANS AND TALKING ABOUT
MILITARY SERVICE.
AND SO WE'RE MORE SPREAD OUT
HERE IN NEW YORK.
AND NEW YORK IS ALSO HOME OF
EVERYTHING.
SO IT'S -- IT WAS REALLY
IMPORTANT AT THAT TIME TO START
SHIFTING THE FOCUS TO VETERANS,
TO THE MILITARY, TO MILITARY
SERVICE, TO THOSE OF US WHO HAVE
BEEN DEPLOYED.
SOME OF US MANY TIMES IN OUR
POST-9/11 WARS.
AS WELL AS BRING MORE
RECOGNITION TO THE VETERANS WHO
SERVED IN EARLIER ERAS TO
INCLUDE THE COLD WAR, TO INCLUDE
THE FIRST DESERT STORM, SOMALIA,
OTHER COMPLEX LIKE THE EFFORTS
IN KOSOVO.
THERE ARE A LOT OF VETERANS WHO
FEEL UNRECOGNIZED FOR THEIR
SERVICE.
>> YOU WOULD THINK IN THIS ERA,
WHERE YOU GET ACCESS TO ANYTHING
YOU WANT -- AND SOME THINGS THAT
YOU DON'T WANT, YOU JUST DON'T
GET ACCESS TO.
BUT YOU WOULDN'T IMMEDIATELY
THINK THAT A LACK OF INFORMATION
WOULD BE A REAL ISSUE.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT HAS BEEN A
PROBLEM, HOWEVER?
>> I THINK IT'S THAT IT CAN BE
HARD TO FIND THE INFORMATION
BECAUSE IT'S IN SO MANY PLACES.
SO WHAT MY PART OF THE VETERANS
ALLIANCE IS IS PUTTING
INFORMATION ON OUR VETERANS.NYC
WHICH IS AN INFORMATION HUB,
EVENTS AND RESOURCES FOR
VETERANS --
>> I WENT ON IT, BY THE WAY, TO
LOOK AT IT.
IT'S FASCINATING HOW MUCH YOU
HAVE ON THERE.
>> THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
WE GET A LOT OF INFORMATION
PASSED TO US FROM THE V.A., FROM
THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN
SERVICES FOR NEW YORK CITY.
A LOT OF DIFFERENT
ORGANIZATIONS, AND IT ALL GOES
TO ONE SPOT SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO
SPEND AN HOUR LOOKING FOR
SOMETHING SPECIFIC.
YOU CAN GO RIGHT THERE AND FIND
IT.
WE GET ABOUT -- LAST MONTH WE
HAD 6000 INDIVIDUAL PAGE VIEWS
FOR AUGUST FOR PEOPLE LOOKING
FOR INFORMATION AND RESOURCES.
>> SHE'S POSTED MORE THAN 2,500
EVENTS ON OUR CALENDAR SINCE WE
STARTED IN 2015.
>> THAT'S IMPRESSIVE.
>> THAT'S A LOT.
IT'S A LOT --
>> THAT'S A LOT.
>> TO PROVIDE RESOURCES SO
VETERANS KNOW WHERE TO CONNECT
AND TO FIND A RESOURCE THAT FITS
THEM AND MEETS THEIR NEED.
BUT THE EVENTS THAT WE PUT ON AS
AN ORGANIZATION HAVE SOME KIND
OF CONNECTION TO CIVIC
LEADERSHIP.
WE WANT VETERANS TO BE ENGAGED
IN WHAT'S HAPPENING IN OUR CITY
GOVERNMENT AND OUR STATE
GOVERNMENT.
WE WANT OUR MEMBERSHIP TO VOTE.
WE WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN THE
POLITICAL PROCESS.
IN NEW YORK CITY WE HISTORICALLY
HAD A VERY LOW VOTER TURNOUT,
BUT OUR MEMBERSHIP IS VERY
ENGAGED.
THEY TELL US IN THE SURVEY THAT
WE'VE DONE NEARLY ALL OF THEM
CONSISTENTLY VOTE IN GENERAL
ELECTIONS AS WELL AS IN
PRIMARIES.
AND THAT'S, THAT'S SOMETHING
VERY SPECIAL, AND IT'S SOMETHING
THAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE IS
ENERGIZED TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.
VETERANS, BY AND LARGE, WE SIGN
UP FOR SERVICE BECAUSE WE WANT
TO SERVE OUR COMMUNITY.
WE WANT TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY.
WE WANT TO BE PROUD OF DOING
THINGS FOR OTHERS, OF SERVING A
HIGHER PURPOSE.
AND THAT COMMITMENT TO SERVICE,
SOMETIMES PUTTING OUR LIVES ON
THE LINE WHEREVER IT IS THAT WE
SERVED, WE ARE WILLING TO DO
THAT.
WE ARE TRAINED AS LEADERS, WE
ARE TRAINED TO SOLVE PROBLEMS
AND WE WANT TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.
>> I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU, ONE OF
THE THINGS THAT I'VE CERTAINLY
BEEN STRUCK BY, AND WE HAVE AS
PART OF THE SERIES WE'VE BEEN
DOING IS HOW OFTEN WE'RE SEEING
VETERANS LIKE YOURSELVES WHO
VOLUNTEERED TO SERVE TO START
WITH AND ARE CONTINUING TO SERVE
AFTER THEY CAME BACK.
I THINK THE TWO OF YOU ARE JUST
MARVELOUS ILLUSTRATIONS OF THAT.
THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE OUT
THERE BENEFITING.
I WANT TO THANK YOU FIRST FOR
YOUR SERVICE, AND THANK YOU FOR
YOUR CONTINUED SERVICE.
AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR
GROUP BEING SUCCESSFUL AND WE'LL
CHECK IN WITH YOU AS WE MOVE
DOWN THE ROAD AND SEE HOW YOU'RE
DOING.
BUT THANK YOU BOTH FOR SPENDING
SOME TIME WITH ALL THE WORK
YOU'RE DOING.
AND ALREADY A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT
THERE WHO THANK YOU FOR DOING
SO.
>>> FOR MORE INFORMATION ON
HASLET RANZ NYC ALLIANCE AND
SERIES DETAILING VETERANS POST
9/11, VISIT US AT
METROFOCUS.ORG.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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