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May 22, 2014

NYSID Salutes Our Veterans for Their Patriotism and Valor

Category: General — NYSID @ 3:20 pm

With May being National Military Appreciation Month and Memorial Day being observed on May 26, New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID) salutes our veterans for their patriotism and valor — in May, on Memorial Day and every day.

Pictured l-r: Andy Grosso, NYSID; Col. Eric Hesse (Retired), NYS Division of Veterans' Affairs; Ron Romano, NYSID; Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-111); Deb Simonsmeier and Dan Casale, on behalf of Senator Kathy Marchione (R/C-43); and Jim Haggerty, NYSID

Recently, NYSID hosted its quarterly Disabled Veterans’ Summit at its Albany office. Among those in attendance were: Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-111), member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; and Deb Simonsmeier and Dan Casale, representatives of Senator Kathy Marchione (R/C-43).

Summit participants include New York State government agencies, not-for-profits, veterans’ service organizations, Wounded Warriors, institutions of higher learning, and rehabilitation organizations, including NYSID members.

“NYSID has conducted quarterly Disabled Veterans’ Summits since 2009 to provide an in-person clearinghouse for individuals and organizations supporting veterans with disabilities in New York State,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “The value of the information exchange is to foster collaboration and networking as we advance the cause of identifying jobs for veterans with disabilities, particularly as the number of returning veterans with disabilities increases.”

The NYSID Veterans’ Summit included presentations by:

  • Col. Eric Hesse (Retired), director of the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs. Hesse was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March of 2013 after serving 26 years on active duty as a commissioned officer. The Division advocates on behalf of New York’s veterans and their families, as individuals and as a group, to ensure they receive benefits granted by law for service in the United States Armed Forces.
  • Anne Phillips, acting deputy commissioner/counsel of the New York State Office of General Services (OGS). NYSID participated in Governor Cuomo’s Veterans and Military Families Summit on March 20 to continue the state’s work to support veterans and the military community. During the Summit, legislative leaders signed a bill establishing a goal of awarding six percent of all NYS contracts through OGS to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The legislation, signed into law on May 12, expands economic opportunity for veterans by ensuring that New York State is providing every occasion for them to participate fully and equitably in state contracting.
  • Barry Feinman, founder and executive director of Jezreel International. Since 1996, Jezreel has shipped to the poor and needy, both here at home and to more than 40 nations around the world. Last December, Jezreel held its first Veterans Appreciation Day event, providing new clothes, personal care and hygiene products, and Christmas toys for veterans and their families. The event has inspired the creation of Jezreel’s Veterans Miracle Center.
  • Laura Siegel, director of Fedcap’s Vocational Rehabilitation Service department. Fedcap develops innovative, creative and sustainable solutions that help people surmount barriers, work toward economic independence, and effect change in their families and communities. Fedcap is the location of one of NYSID’s five Battle Buddy Centers, which serve as safe havens for veterans to socialize with their fellow veterans and receive services they need.
  • Fredy Tello, senior director of the Veterans Initiative for Jericho Project, a New York City-based organization that works to end homelessness. Prior to joining Jericho, Tello retired at the rank of Gunnery Sergeant after serving 22 years in the United States Marine Corps. With Jericho Project, he oversees five veteran programs, including Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) and assists with the development of the Veterans Initiative.
  • John Ostwald, member of the board of advisors and college veteran liaison at Soldier’s Heart. The non-profit organization provides a unique and comprehensive model to address the emotional, moral and spiritual wounds of veterans, their families and communities. Ostwald is a Vietnam era veteran who teaches psychology at Hudson Valley Community College, where he serves as a faculty advisor to the Armed Forces Club. He has written extensively on veterans issues.

In addition to Veterans’ Summits, NYSID supports Battle Buddy Centers, which are safe havens for veterans to socialize with their fellow veterans and receive services they need, and maintains a Veterans Contact Directory which lists veterans’ service provider government agencies and not-for-profit organizations available in New York State counties.

“NYSID supports Governor Cuomo’s commitment to ensure that New York is a national leader in providing the care and benefits which veterans and military families have earned,” Romano said. “Our organization supports veterans’ initiatives, and I believe there are opportunities for collaboration between NYSID and New York State in fulfillment of this shared mission.”


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