The holiday season can be an emotional time for veterans and their families, which is why NYSID recently hosted its quarterly Veterans’ Summit.
The December 14 event fostered camaraderie, networking and mutual support among New York State government agencies, not-for-profits, veterans’ service organizations, institutions of higher learning, and rehabilitation organizations, including NYSID members.
“After hearing the presentations and talking with other veterans and veteran representatives, I felt the Summit was a reminder of the strong sense of community there is for myself and fellow veterans,” said Jason Lebrecht. “As a service-disabled veteran and entrepreneur, I look forward to future NYSID Veterans’ Summits.”
Michael Cognetti, MBA, MS. Ed., director of brain injury, veterans and employment services; and Harold Horace, veterans services specialist, with Living Resources. The agency developed the Veterans Services Project (VSP) to expand its broad range of community-based supports and services to veterans, while also providing them with employment opportunities.
Maj. David Erickson, an Army retiree who runs Albany High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) battalion. JROTC is a citizenship and leadership training program offered to students in high schools throughout the country.
Mary Ellen Whitney, CEO and founder; and Jenifer Whiston, development director, STRIDE Adaptive Sports. STRIDE has moved into its new headquarters and Project SHARE (STRIDE Health and Recreation Education Center) in West Sand Lake and is hosting an Open House on Wednesday, December 21 from 3-8 pm. STRIDE is also planning for its ski and ride season at Ski Sundown, Catamount and Jiminy Peak, with lessons for students of all ages who require ski and snowboard services.
A TEDx video highlighting Ron Self, founder of the self-help group Veterans Healing Veterans From The Inside Out, also was shown during the Summit. Veterans Healing Veterans From The Inside Out tries to stop the alarmingly high suicide rate among veterans. The video came to NYSID’s attention through Henry Cohen, treasurer on NYSID’s board of directors; his daughter, Delia, is a justice advocate and organizer of TEDx events in prisons.
Special thanks to Benjamin Pomerance, deputy director for VA Programs, who attended the Summit on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Dan Casale, constituent representative, who attended on behalf of NYS Senator Kathleen Marchione (R-43), member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs.
For more information on NYSID’s veterans initiatives, visit or https://www.facebook.com/NYSIDVeterans.