Soldier On Featured on 22News Panel Discussion

InFocus: Addressing veterans’ issues and available resources

Many veterans are not aware of resources in their communities to help with transitioning to civilian life.

Amy Phillips, Producer, 22News Investigative Team

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – There are over a million people currently serving in the United States military, including reservists. There are millions more since World War 2 that have retired or been discharged.Some of these brave men and women have experienced conditions most of us could never imagine.

Homelessness, unemployment, Post Traumatic Stress, addiction and suicide are some of the most pressing issues veterans face when returning home from deployment or leaving the military. An essential part of helping veterans transition to civilian life involves their home communities, and connections to local outreach programs.

This Sunday on 22News InFocus our panel of guests represent organizations that provide a variety of supportive resources to veterans, and will discuss what’s being done to help those in need in Western Massachusetts. On the program will be:

  • John Collins, Medical Center Director at the VA of Central and Western Massachusetts Health Care System
  • Dr. Dana Weaver, Mental Health Director at the VA of Central and Western Massachusetts Health Care System
  • Gumersindo Gomez, Executive Director of the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Centers of Massachusetts
  • Christian DiLuzio, Employment and Training Specialist at Veterans, Inc.
  • Michael Hagmaier, Senior Vice President of Soldier On.

If you or someone you know is serving in the military or is a veteran in need of support services, most cities and towns provide a Veterans Service Officer who can help you connect to benefits and programs within your community.  Below are links and contacts to help you get started.

Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ ServicesList of Veterans’ Service Officers by community

VA of Central and Western Massachusetts Health Care System– Leeds, 413-584-4040

BiLingual Veterans Outreach Centers of Massachusetts-Springfield, 413-731-0194

Veterans, Inc24-hour hotline: 1-800-482-2565

Soldier On-Leeds, 413-582-3059; Pittsfield, 413-236-5644