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NYSID News Blog

December 3, 2014

NYSID Hosts Another Successful Veterans’ Summit

Category: General — NYSID @ 8:24 pm

NYSID recently hosted its quarterly Veterans’ Summit, bringing together NYS legislators, government agencies, not-for-profits, veterans’ service organizations, Wounded Warriors, institutions of higher learning, and rehabilitation organizations, including NYSID members.

Pictured l-r: Kenneth Williams, Dr. Jane Katz, Jason Collins

The holiday season can be an especially emotional time for veterans, making this Summit a timely event for individuals and organizations who support veterans.

The December 3 Veterans’ Summit included presentations by:

  • Kenneth Williams, newly appointed director, Division of Service Disabled Veterans’ Business Development, New York State Office of General Services
  • Jason Collins, accessibilities assistant/school certifying official, SUNY Adirondack
  • Dr. Jane Katz, founder, W.E.T.s for Vets (Water Exercise Techniques for Veterans)


Katz has taught thousands of students about the benefits of water fitness at the City University of New York (CUNY) since 1964, specifically for John Jay College of Criminal Justice students since 1989. She has helped create aquatic programs for troubled youth and senior fitness; her latest splash is W.E.T.s for Vets, a holistic program for returning veterans at John Jay College, to help them reintegrate into mainstream civilian life through water exercise techniques.

“I thought the Veterans’ Summit was absolutely the best. It was the highlight of all my work to date with W.E.T.s for Vets,” she said. “Not only did I show my video to local attendees, but to veterans’ representatives from across the entire state. People have already been in touch with me about doing events next year.”

In 2014, NYSID was honored to have the following NYS and Albany County legislators join us for Veterans’ Summits:

  • Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-82), chairman of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
  • Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D/WFP-34), member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
  • Dan Casale and Deb Simonsmeier, representatives of Senator Kathy Marchione (R/C-43)
  • Albany County Executive Dan McCoy
  • Kristin Williams, legislative director for Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D/WFP-51)
  • Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-111), member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
  • Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk (D-46), ranking member on the Senate Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities and member of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee


We thank our presenters from the December Summit and the following presenters from earlier Summits in 2014:

  • Barry Feinman, Jezreel International
  • Col. Eric Hesse (Retired), New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Kevin Kropp, Columbia-Greene Community College
  • John Ostwald, Soldier’s Heart
  • Anne Phillips, New York State Office of General Services (OGS)
  • Dianna Rios, American Red Cross of Northeastern New York
  • Laura Siegel, Fedcap
  • Joseph Sluszka, Albany Housing Coalition Inc.
  • Mary Ellen Whitney, STRIDE Adaptive Sports


For more information on NYSID’s Veterans’ Initiatives, visit: http://www.nysid.org/Veterans.cfm. As always, we salute our veterans for their patriotism and valor.


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