A New York Stand-Down to Help Homeless Veterans!

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An August event in Wawarsing, NY will benefit homeless and needy veterans while also raising awareness of HR-3612 and S-1629- two Bills designed to reinstate VA benefits to offshore Vietnam personnel.

On August 3rd of 2012 the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association will host a Stand-Down in Wawarsing, New York. The event, which starts at 9am and runs until 6pm, was created to bring a host of services to homeless and needy veterans in the lower Hudson Valley region.
Carol Olszanecki, the Project Director for this event, is the widow of a Navy Veteran who died of an extreme complication due to dioxin poisoning from Agent Orange Exposure. Her late husband was exposed to the dioxin while serving offshore Vietnam in the mid-1960s. Olszanecki, an officer of the non-profit Blue Water Navy Association, is joining forces with several other national veteran groups to provide an array of free services at the August 3rd event.

According to Susan Haggerty’s recent article in The New York Times, “there are roughly 68,000 veterans currently homeless in the United States. Within that number, a group of at least 14,000 have been homeless for a year or more and suffer from at least one chronic — and costly to treat — health condition.”

Homeless veterans find themselves ‘in combat’ every day, surviving one day at a time. Therapeutic programs, such as the August 3rd Stand-Down in New York, provide a wide range of services including temporary housing, medical, legal, mental health and social services, as well as the immediate needs of food, clothing and temporary shelter. Stand-Downs are known for providing a soup kitchen or free meals. In addition, many organizations and community resources donate clothing and other needed services.

“There is no way we could even pretend to shoulder the cost of this venture. But we’ve had magnificent support at the local level with dozens of Federal, State and Local agencies and private businesses volunteering time, materials and services. There is an immense show of community support that will make this event a big success,” says John Rossie, Executive Director of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association . “We’re not going to miss the opportunity to raise public awareness for our own problems. But right now, we need to concentrate on the newer generation of veterans who are having their own problems adjusting to civilian life in this current social and economic setting. They are still our Brothers and Sisters and could use a hand coping with their re-integration into society.”

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association (Blue Water Navy Association) is fighting the 10th year of their removal of VA Benefits for injuries and diseases due to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. The non-profit organization has over 900 members nationwide, most of which are disabled and will die an average of 13 years younger than males of their age who did not serve in Vietnam. Please visit http://www.BlueWaterNavy.org and learn the plight of the offshore Vietnam personnel who are literally indistinguishable from the thousands of other Veterans who are sick and dying from dioxin-induced cancers and other maladies, yet who have been severed from the benefits they earned. Members of the public and media can learn about the Bills in both the House and the Senate that will reinstate this group of veterans with the VA Benefits they deserve by visiting BlueWaterNavy.org. John Rossie is available for interviews via phone, Skype and email.


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Jonas Vece
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