Secretary of Veterans Affairs discusses issues with Hudson Valley vets (video)

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KINGSTON – Outside, the building formerly part of a complex vacated by IBM’s downsizing nearly three decades ago, is showing its long-term un-use.

Sidewalks and pavement were in disrepair and more vegetation than normal crowded the building.

Inside, though, Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough encountered some hope.

“What I learned today is that we are doing a lot of great things,” he said, Monday, after meeting with veterans at the Hudson Valley Center for Veteran Reintegration. “We have to be connected from the federal level to state to the county level, even to the local level. The second thing we can do, and we’re starting an effort on this, is really fund organizations like the one you see in this room.”

The center offers veterans programs such as writers and wooden boat workshops and helps them with financial counseling and peer-to-peer counseling to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide prevention.

“What we do know is that the vets in our care do better. Mental health, and do better with their physical health,” said McDonough. “There are a lot of vets not in our care. So organizations like this allows us to get connected with veterans, get them the services and most importantly integrated (into our communities) as I heard from several of our veterans.”