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Concert to Benefit Soldier On

Who: Albany County and the Times Union Center are hosting a motorcycle parade, street party, and concert to benefit Soldier On.

What: A press conference, featuring Jack Downing, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy, and representatives from the Times Union Center and the event, will take place at the Ann Lee house in Albany at 10am. Registration for the motorcycle parade begins at 9am at the Ann Lee home and the ride kicks off after the press conference. From 12pm-6pm there will be a “warm up party” on Pearl Street in Albany. The concert, featuring The Charlie Daniels Band with Bret Michaels and The Marshall Tucker Band, will begin at the Times Union Center at 7pm.

When: Saturday, May 31; 9am registration, 10am press conference, 12pm-6pm warm up party, 7pm concert.

Where: Ann Lee home, Pearl Street, Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

For more information regarding the days’ events visit For tickets visit Ticketmaster or the Times Union Center website.

Contact Maggie Porter with questions, or 413-441-5728.


Memorial Day Marathon Races Silent Auction

Who: Soldier On is hosting a silent auction to benefit our veterans programs.

What: The silent auction will feature items donated from the community including:

  • Complimentary two night retreat and renewal stay for two at Kripalu Center for yoga and health
  • Four lawn tickets to a Boston Symphony Orchestra or Boston Pops concert, during 2014 summer season with lunch for four at the Red Lion Inn
  • Round of golf for four with carts from Cranwell, during 2014 or 2015 golf season
  • Leather and silver Orit bracelet from Tanglewool
  • Zabian’s $250 gift certificate
  • Crown Jewelers $100 gift certificate
  • Carr Hardware $100 gift certificate
  • One night stay at Hilton Garden Inn Troy and breakfast for two in the Great American Grille with Recovery Sports Grill $25 gift certificate and tickets to The Charlie Daniels Band with Bret Michaels and The Marshall Tucker Band at the Times Union Center, May 31
  • An overnight stay with breakfast for two at the Crowne Plaza Hotel – Berkshires
  • Mazcot’s $50 gift certificate
  • Mazzeo’s $50 gift certificate
  • Four golf passes with carts at Greenock Country Club
  • Two East Side Café gift certificates for two pizzas of choice each
  • Four general admission tickets to one home UMass Men’s Ice Hockey, Men’s Basketball, and Women’s Basketball games during the 2014-15 regular seasons with Rafters $25 gift certificate
  • Four PortSmitt’s $25 gift certificates, totaling $100
  • One free gold detailing at Haddad Dealership of the Berkshires
  • Rita Marie’s $20 gift certificate
  • Adams Ale House $25 gift certificate
  • Two movie passes from Beacon Cinema with Friends Grille $25 gift certificate
  • Alta $50 gift certificate
  • Pilates instruction lesson from Berkshire Physical Therapy and Wellness
  • One hour massage from Berkshire Physical Therapy and Wellness
  • Greg Norman Collection Baseball Cap autographed ($125 value) and Photo autographed ($75 value) by Greg Norman
  • Coach wristlet
  • Three t-shirts from Lenox Fitness Center
  • Smoothie Gift Set: Commercial blender from B&G Restaurant Supply with fruit basket
  • Diamond Mystique earrings ($150 value) from Westfield Women’s Club
  • Fifty tickets to The Charlie Daniels Band with Bret Michaels and The Marshall Tucker Band at the Times Union Center, May 31 from Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy
  • “Day in the Park” at Look Park, four train passes, four mini golf passes, two bumper boat passes, one four-seated pedal boat pass, one free picnic table, one free vehicle entry pass
  • McCoy’s Place $16 gift certificate with Mastey shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in treatment ($39 value)
  • “Never Give Up” autographed book by Tedy Bruschi
  • Pete Carroll Laser Engraved Football ($75 value)
  • Kindle from the Westfield Women’s Club
  • Sanita clogs, size 36 (Estimated $135 value)

When: Saturday, May 24, and Sunday, May 25

Where: The auction will be set up on the Tanglewood grounds all day Saturday and will then move to Mazzeo’s for the pre-race dinner on Saturday night. On Sunday, May 25, we will be back at Tanglewood for the morning of the races. The winners will be announced early Sunday afternoon at Tanglewood before the Summersound concert begins.

For more information regarding the races visit

Contact Maggie Porter with questions, or 413-441-5728.


Soldier On hosts silent auction to benefit veterans programs

On Saturday, May 24, and Sunday, May 25, Soldier On will host a silent auction to benefit the organization’s veterans programs. The auction will take place on the Tanglewood grounds all day Saturday and Sunday morning during the Memorial Day Marathon Races and on Saturday evening at the pre-race dinner at Mazzeo’s. The winners of the silent auction will be announced early Sunday afternoon before the Summersound concert kicks off at Tanglewood.

The items up for auction include:

4 Red Sox tickets

A weekend for 2 at Kripalu, with accommodations, meals, yoga, and access to their facilities

4 lawn tickets to Tanglewood, lunch for 4 at the Red Lion Inn, and a gift card to Alta Restaurant in Lenox

An individual Pilates lesson

…and much more!

Visit the Memorial Day Marathon website to register for the races.

Contact Maggie Porter, or 413-441-5728, with any questions regarding the weekend’s events!


Times Union Center hosts concert to benefit Soldier On

Event flyer

On May 31, the Times Union Center in Albany is hosting a concert to benefit Soldier On and, specifically, their project for a homeless veterans center in Albany. The concert features The Marshall Tucker Band, The Charlie Daniels Band, and Bret Micheaels and will begin at 7pm. Soldier On president/CEO Jack Downing will be addressing the audience during intermission to explain what Soldier On does and the organization’s plan to expand housing to Albany. Tickets for the concert are available at Ticketmaster or on the Times Union Center website.

Prior to the concert there will be a motorcycle parade. Registration is at 9am at the Ann Lee Home in Albany. Following the parade there will be a warm up party from 12pm-6pm on Pearl Street. The party will feature live music, food and vendors, and a custom motorcycle show! Visit for more details on the days’ events. Please contact Patrick Brisson with questions about the motorcycle parade and warm up party, or 518-376-3998.

Contact Maggie Porter with other questions, or 413-441-5728. We hope to see you at the events!


Memorial Day Races series in Lenox expands, adds music festival

LENOX — The fifth annual Memorial Day Races, a two-day series starting and ending at Tanglewood, may attract 1,500 to 1,600 participants, according to organizer Matt Linick.

It’s the first major attraction of the prime tourist season in the area, said Lenox Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ralph Petillo, who called the races “a wonderful addition to the Berkshires, especially Lenox.”

“It brings in people whom we hope will come back and enjoy the town on their own, a younger audience than we usually get in the summer, which is very good for us,” he said.

Last year’s races were attended by 1,400 participants, said Linick, 41, whose active-travel company, Running Away, is based in Boca Raton, Fla.

The event on the weekend of May 24-25 will feature the Memorial Day Marathon and Half Marathon, the Tanglewood 10K and 5K runs, the Memorial Day 15K Trail Race, a Trail-Road Challenge and Kids Race. Most events are on Sunday, with the exception of the 15K Trail Race and Kids Race, both held on Saturday.

So far, registrants are from Massachusetts — about 38 percent of the total — as well as the New York metro area and more than 25 other states and nations, including Florida, California, Canada, the Philippines and Brazil.

Most registrants stay overnight at sites such as the Apple Tree Inn and Cornell Inn, both in Lenox, and the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge.

A post-race party is held at the Olde Heritage Tavern in Lenox while other eateries and merchants benefit from the crowds, including Guido’s Fresh Marketplace and Price Chopper, Linick said.

New attractions this year include an early-morning, 55-mile Memorial Day Dirt Road Ride for mountain bikers on Sunday and a full-fledged, post-race SummerSound music festival at Tanglewood that afternoon.

SummerSound made its debut last May, Linick said, but it was far from a dry run; “It rained all weekend, with 55 mile-an-hour winds.”

The concert, from noon to 6, features Northampton-based Heather Maloney, a singer-songwriter who performs folk, jazz and pop.

Other bookings include the Boston-based Adam Ezra Group, an acoustic-rock band; The Interlopers, young Great Barrington musicians who now attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, and Skyfactor, a New York City band. Tickets are $15 for the general public; race participants are admitted at no charge.

The concert, organized by SummerSound Live, a subsidiary company owned by Linick, is building a stage for the festival at the main gate parking lot at Tanglewood. The Tanglewood box office will open during the weekend for summer concert ticket sales.

“If it’s remotely nice out, we expect a big crowd,” he said.

The goal is to create a two-day festival, Linick explained. Until this year, the event was known as the Memorial Day Marathon, but he changed the name in order to reflect the wider scope of attractions.

The new Dirt Road Ride is an informal, 51-mile trek through the Berkshires, limited to 300 riders. It will set out from Tanglewood at 7:45 a.m. May 25, proceed on Undermountain and Reservoir roads, and continue through portions of Richmond, West Stockbridge, Alford and a slice of nearby Columbia County, N.Y.

“It’s a self-supported ride,” Linick said. “Everybody rides on their own and we just mark it all for them.”

A pre-race Expo will be held on the Tanglewood parking lot grounds from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 24.

A portion of the weekend’s proceeds benefits Team Red White & Blue, a national advocacy group for veterans, and the Northampton branch of Soldier On, which assists homeless veterans at its Pittsfield facility on West Housatonic Street.

Last year’s event raised about $30,000 for Team Red White & Blue, then the sole beneficiary.

The festival’s major sponsors include Tanglewood, Greylock Federal Credit Union and the Arcadian Shop.

“Every year, Tanglewood has been more and more supportive,” Linick said. “It’s good for them and good for us.”


Soldier On Trauma-Informed Care Working Group

Last year, Soldier On formed a partnership with The National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) at American Institutes for Research to begin the process of adopting Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) at Soldier On. Since the partnership began, we have held two trainings for staff on TIC. We have also formed the Soldier On TIC Working Group to help facilitate further training and guide implementation of TIC practices in the women’s program and beyond. Members of the working group include:

  • Kevin Cahill, Director of Clinical Services
  • Cindy Nolan-Liston, Women’s Program Supervisor
  • Virginia Leiblein, Director of Wellness
  • Kayla Solomon, Women’s Program Therapist
  • Catherine A. Doherty, Women’s Program Consultant; Director of Soldier On Training Institute

We look forward to providing you with monthly updates on our progress. If you have any questions or feedback please contact Katie Doherty at


A Success Story: Melody Albert

2014-01-31 01.07.07

Melody Albert grew up in Brooklyn, NY. She joined the Army in November of 1999 and after three years of service was honorably discharged to Atlanta. It was in Atlanta that Melody got married and gave birth to her daughter. Melody lived here with her family for fourteen years before moving back to Brooklyn. Her marriage ended in divorce and she lost her house due to a foreclosure and she and her daughter moved back to Brooklyn to stay with family. Melody heard of the Soldier On Supportive Service for Veteran Families (SSVF) program through a friend and relocated to Schenectady. While staying with her friend in a van in Schenectady, Melody called Soldier On for assistance. Soldier On case manager Geoff Raiti met Melody at her friend’s house and enrolled her and her daughter in the SSVF program. Geoff and Melody created a housing stability plan together and Melody began looking for an apartment.  Geoff worked closely with the VA and VSO in the area to connect her with other community services that she was eligible for.

Melody posted an ad on Craigslist saying that she was looking for a place to rent. The landlord contacted her and she and Geoff went to look at the apartment in Ballston Spa. The two bedroom apartment was perfect for her and her daughter. Geoff was able to work with the landlord to assist Melody so that they were able to move in and Melody began looking for a job. Soldier On was also able to assist Melody to furnish her new apartment with furniture that was donated by a hotel in the Albany area.

Melody worked closely with Soldier On’s Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP), the VA in Saratoga, and the Saratoga County Veteran Service Officer (VSO) to find a job.  She was assessed and enrolled into HVRP by Soldier On job developer, Michael Brinck.  She was hired into a full time position at Angio Dynamics in Glens Falls where she is still working today.

Melody explains her transition as “a little rough but it’s a blessing. I’m happy.”

Geoff and Mike continue to call Melody periodically to check in on her and her daughter and their new puppy, Platinum. Melody appreciates the follow up, “I’m not just another number or another vet.” Melody and her family are safe, comfortable and happy. She has a job and her family has a home.


Soldier On Receives $500,000 to Support Housing in Chicopee

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston presented Soldier On and partners O’Connell Development Group Inc. with a $500,000 direct subsidy for our Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Village project in Chicopee, MA. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston awarded more than $20 million in grants and rate subsidies to fund 42 initiatives in the 2013 Affordable Housing Program (AHP). The awards will create or preserve 935 rental and 58 ownership units for very low-, low-, and moderate-income individuals and families.

Soldier On and O’Connell Development Group Inc. will work together to develop 43 of those 935 rental units funded by the AHP. The Veterans Village will be located in a newly renovated Chapin School in the Willimansett section of Chicopee. This Village is modeled after the 39 unit Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Village in Pittsfield, MA which has been successfully operating as a limited equity cooperative since 2010. The Veterans Village in Chicopee will bring Soldier On one step closer to changing the end of the story for homeless veterans.


Donate Now!

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We’re super excited to let you know that we’re part of the Honoring Those Who Serve Challenge. The Challenge is a fundraising campaign being launched by Newman’s Own Foundation. The Foundation is proud to continue Paul Newman’s commitment to help the military community – those who have given so much of themselves, who now face critical needs.

To give back, Newman’s Own Foundation will be donating $180,000 to organizations like ours focused on empowering military personnel, veterans and their families. <br.
The charity that raises the most throughout the Challenge will get a $75,000 donation from Newman’s Own Foundation. Second place gets $50,000 and third gets $25,000. We’re out to raise as much money as possible for our cause so we can win that $75,000 grand prize donation.

We think we can win and to do so, we definitely need your help. We’ll be sending emails throughout the Challenge and we’ll be asking for you to give. Every donation makes a difference, no matter how small.

To help now, please Click Here and give whatever you can.

Or, if you want to go one step further, Go Here and click ‘Create Your Fundraiser.’ In seconds, you’ll have your own fundraiser that you can share with all of your family and friends so that you can raise money for our cause too.

Please email CrowdRise at if you have any questions at all and they’ll help solve everything.

Thanks so much for your support.    


A Success Story: George Sylvia

George Sylvia

After a stint in a Massachusetts county jail and a longer sentence in state prison, it was time for George Sylvia to listen to some good advice.

George, a native of New Bedford, Mass. who served in the Marine Corps from 1977 to 1981, had become addicted to prescription medication while undergoing a yearlong trial dental procedure during his first year of military service.

By the time of his honorable discharge, after serving in such faraway locations as Japan, Korea and the Caribbean, his addiction to the medication had become completely unmanageable. After his discharge at Camp Pendleton, George became immersed in the Southern California drug culture. His addiction remained with him for 19 years, though he said he held full-time employment as a “functioning” addict for the first 10 years.

As his life became completely dysfunctional and he was diagnosed with depression due to the extreme drug abuse, George was incarcerated twice upon his return to his native Massachusetts. He was sentenced to a year in the Bristol County Jail in Dartmouth for Class A drug distribution, then received a second sentence of 5 years and 8 months in the Massachusetts state prison system for distribution of narcotics to support his growing addiction.

It was during his final year of incarceration that George attended a presentation by Soldier On Outreach Coordinator Willie Ledbetter, himself a former homeless veteran who had served prison time following the path of drugs and crime.

“Willie’s testimony about sitting in a graveyard lost in his addiction with no place to turn connected with me,” George said. “I knew that if I left prison without the support that I needed to rebuild my life, I probably would not get another chance, considering how extreme my addiction had become. Soldier On was a valuable resource to enter the workforce and community again.”

Inspired by Willie’s testimony, George arrived at Soldier On in Leeds, Mass., three days after his release from prison. Ten days later, he transferred to the Soldier On transitional living facility in Pittsfield, Mass. There, he found work through a temporary employment agency, and earned the Employee of the Month Award while working for Interprint, Inc. That company then hired him full time, and he remained employed there for 22 months until he was offered a position with Soldier On to be part of the management team overseeing day-to-day operations. He held that position for about four years, then became the Soldier On Employment Coordinator and Veterans Skills Development Center Manager in Pittsfield. In this position, he is responsible for finding employment for veterans and developing employment opportunities in the community.

At 53, George has settled into his position at Soldier On, and resides at the Soldier On Gordon Mansfield Veterans Community, a first-of-its-kind, limited equity permanent housing cooperative for formerly homeless veterans. He has become active in the Pittsfield community over the past seven years, and says he was honored by the opportunity to serve on advisory councils for the Red Cross and Elder Services of Berkshire County.

He has also enjoyed “12 years of sobriety thanks to the support and encouragement of the Soldier On community and the management here,” George said. He has been given the opportunity to rebuild relationships with his family and the community where he resides, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Gordon Mansfield Veterans Community with fellow veterans.

“Soldier On,” Sylvia said, “has proven to be a life changing experience and opportunity for myself and many other veterans who take the chance to learn to participate in life again.”

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