TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – On December 12, veterans and their guests were given free tickets to the Marist men’s basketball game against Navy. While Navy took the game, the VetZero program in Poughkeepsie was the big winner.
The VetZero program works to reduce the number of veteran suicides, while also transporting vets to medical appointments and assisting them with housing issues. It is one of many programs offered by Hudson River Housing. The program really drew attention when Marist English Professor and former VFW Post 170 Commander Tommy Zurhellen walked across the country in 2019 to raise awareness of the suicide rate among veterans which is approximately 22 per day.
A presentation at halftime gave Marist officials a chance to bring Hudson River Housing’s Executive Director, Christa Hines to center court accompanied by Zurhellen. The professor also serves as the chair of the Marist College Veterans Affairs Committee. A video was broadcast throughout the arena with stories from veterans before Marist President Kevin Weinman and Athletic Director Tim Murray presented a check in the amount of $2,022 to Hines for the VetZero program.
Zurhellen told Mid-Hudson News that he came up with the idea a while back and pitched it to then-president Dennis Murray. “He really supported my initiatives and Marist continues to support the program. I’m really proud of that.”
Hines spoke to Mid-Hudson News on Monday and said, “Hudson River Housing’s VetZero program is so thankful to have received a $2,022 donation from our friends at Marist College yesterday at their veteran recognition basketball game! These funds will help us start the new year off right and will go to support our free transportation program for veterans.”