TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – Veterans of America’s armed forces were treated to a BBQ picnic compliments of Dutchess County’s Vet2Vet program on Friday at Bowdoin Park in the Town of Poughkeepsie.
The Vet2Vet program, under the direction of Mental Health America of Dutchess County, provides peer-to-peer counseling and a variety of services for veterans in need.
Program Director Adam Roche, himself a combat-hardened member of the United States Marine Corps, welcomed the vets to the annual picnic at the county park to give the men and women a chance to mingle, enjoy live music, and eat food prepared by Todd Sackett and his staff from Tavern 23 in Poughkeepsie.
Veterans dined on steak, hamburgers, hot dogs, shrimp, corn, and a variety of other dishes while listening to live music under the pavilion.
Sackett, the proprietor of Tavern 23, said, “I would do anything for anyone that put their life on the line for our country. It’s the least I can do.” Roche said many of the 140 veterans in attendance don’t get many opportunities to interact with others that have had the same experiences and this picnic is just one of the ways Vet2Vet helps rectify that. “Vet2Vet allows us to help the heroes who fought yesterday so we can have a tomorrow,” said Roche.
Mark Gildow, 61, of Poughkeepsie, a veteran of the Navy Seabees, has used several services offered by Vet2Vet, saying they are there when you need them
“You can always call them on the phone and get the help you need,” said Gildow. “I don’t know where I would be without them,” said the former sailor who admits to having fallen on hard times in the past and has made it through them thanks to the assistance of Vet2Vet.
State Senator Susan Serino has been an ardent supporter of the Vet2Vet program which had faced funding cuts under Governor Cuomo’s recent budget proposals. “Our servicemen and women have made tremendous sacrifices for our country and our community, and we have a duty to ensure that resources are available to help them live their lives here at home to the fullest. Vet2Vet is one of these critically important programs and it’s all about heroes helping heroes. We know it is working to effectively save lives by bringing our veterans together to help one another work through whatever challenges they may be facing, and I encourage our local veterans to take the opportunity to get involved.”