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Veterans Information Session at American Legion Post 1645

Veterans from all eras were invited to learn more today about the various programs and services in our area designed to assist them.
Veterans from all eras were invited to learn more today about the various programs and services in our area designed to assist them.

The Southern Tier Veteran Support Group held a Veteran Information Day at American Legion Post 1645 on Robinson Street in Binghamton. It took the place of the annual Homeless Stand-down event typically organized by the Veterans Administration. The three hour event featured information tables about healthcare and benefits, education, employment, housing, counseling and legal services. There was also food and music by the band 360 Degrees which is made up of mostly Vietnam Veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The information day is in keeping with one of STVSG's core goals: providing coordination among 75 different groups and organizations that serve veterans.

"We look at the whole veteran. And we look at everything that is going on in their life, financially, family and education. We try to address the whole picture," said Ben Margolius.

The Veterans Support Group also seeks to educate the broader community on the needs of veterans and how they can contribute to the workforce. And the group can provide specialized financial support as a last resort for veterans who have critical needs. Jack Burnett was once such a vet. Two years ago, he was homeless following a workplace traumatic brain injury that caused him to lose his business, his fortune and his marriage. Burnett says attending the Homeless Stand Down started to turn his life around.

"Two years ago, I sat at that table and had a cup of soup. And now two years later, I'm up singing with the band and trying to reach out to other vets that there's help here," said Burnett.

For more information about the Southern Tier Veterans Support Group, go to stvsg.org.
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