Patriot Nissan “drives” successful fundraiser

Patriot Nissan “drives” successful fundraiser

Held July 15 through August 31, Patriot Nissan’s Service Drive Five for VNEOC helped raise more than $6,500 to support veterans served by Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC).

Serving Essex, Middlesex and Barnstable Counties (MA) and Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties (NH), VNEOC provides basic food and housing, advocacy as an Accredited VSO, counseling, peer support, case management, employment and education to veterans and their families.

Matt Drohan, general manager at Patriot Nissan in Salem, said supporting veterans holds “great personal meaning” for him. 

“I served in the Navy and have had good fortune in my life with my career, but I know many others who have served in the military have not,” he said. “We thank VNEOC for all they do and all the businesses and individuals who participated in this event.”

One of these businesses matched the first $3,000 raised during the 6-week long event.

“I can’t thank our anonymous donor enough or Patriot Nissan for their financial contribution, their time in planning the event and working through all kinds of logistics with us,” said VNEOC’s John Ford. “Local businesses donated for weekly raffles, Patriot Nissan created videos, promoted us — it was an incredible effort.”

During the event, Patriot Nissan made a $5 donation to VNEOC for every customer who serviced his/her vehicle there. Donations were also gathered through a DipJar, which provided customers with a way to add a donation to VNEOC when paying their service bill.

In looking to the future, Ford said Patriot Nissan has committed to future partnerships, too. Their support, he noted, will “change lives.”

“We help veterans get back and stay on their feet,” he said. “They become self-sustaining and invested community members — Patriot Nissan is now part of VNEOC’s story.”

To learn more about the collaboration with Patriot Nissan, click here https://patriotnissan.com/service-drive-five-for-VNEOC

Chart Productions puts Voices of VNEOC Spotlight on Others

Chart Productions puts Voices of VNEOC Spotlight on Others

When Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC) launched a new community outreach strategy earlier this year, the hope was to put a spotlight on others, an objective met through the Voices of VNEOC podcast.

“If we are going to improve the lives of veterans and their families, we need to recognize any organization whose work intersects with ours,” noted VNEOC’s John Ford.

Produced by Jordan Rich of Chart Productions and distributed by Fast Twitch Media, Voices of VNEOC is currently working with several nonprofits in New Hampshire, including the Wright Museum of World War II.

“The Wright is an incredible place that works to ensure we never forget the sacrifices of the men and women who have served our nation,” said Ford. “I’m thrilled Jordan and his team are helping us tell a larger story.”

Founded in 1994, The Wright in Wolfeboro, NH features more than 14,000 items in its collection from both the home front and battle field. Its 2020 season is highlighted by Vietnam: The Real War — A Photographic History from the Associated Press, an exhibit that features 50 photos taken during the 1960’s and 70’s.

“I appreciate Veterans Northeast Outreach Center and their willingness to allow us to talk about what we do and why,” said Executive Director Mike Culver. “We are thankful for them letting us use their platform.”

This same upcoming Voices of VNEOC podcast will also feature the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire in Londonderry, NH and Honor Flight New England in Hooksett, NH.

“We are extremely excited to be working closely with these institutions,” said Ed “Chief” Mitchell, executive director of VNEOC. “All these organizations have strong connections to veterans and have hearts that are committed to veteran causes.”

For Rich, who has been with WBZ for 25 years and previously kept listeners company on WRKO and WSSH-FM, Voices of VNEOC is special because the “inspiring stories of our veterans have no boundaries.”

“We’re excited to feature interviews with veterans and organizations throughout parts of  New Hampshire on our new podcast,” he said. “These are stories that need to be shared and this podcast makes that possible.”

Serving Essex, Middlesex and Barnstable Counties (MA) and Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties (NH), VNEOC provides basic food and housing, advocacy as an Accredited VSO, counseling, peer support, case management, employment and education to veterans and their families.

To learn more about Chart Productions, which Rich founded in 1978 with Ken Carberry, visit chartproductions.com.

Ron Paradise (August)

Ron Paradise (August)

What is your name, job title, and program?
My name is Ronald James Paradise, and I am currently the Case Manager for a 21-room veteran housing facility at 65 Cedar Street in Haverhill, MA.

How long have you worked at VNOC?
I started working at VNEOC on January 15, 2018 as the Employment Coordinator. In March 2020, I took over as the Case Manager for the Mansion, a 21-room veteran housing program.

What are some of the challenges you help Veterans meet and overcome?
As the Employment Coordinator, I was tasked with assisting veterans looking for employment opportunities. Having worked in the staffing industry for 23 years prior to coming into VNEOC, I began reaching out to companies I had contacts with and started to establish some relationships with local Haverhill businesses. When I began to sit with veterans to discuss employment, the biggest challenges were sporadic work history, no resume, out of work for the last few years, and not many references to support them.

Any challenges specific to the pandemic?
The biggest challenge has been making sure the veterans stay safe, make sure they follow the guidelines of wearing a mask, wash their hands, carry a bottle of hand sanitizer when they are out and about, check temperatures at least once a day and watch for any symptoms that may relate to COVID-19.

A few veterans do not have a phone but need to make appointments or a visiting nurse comes to see them, so I’m their point of contact to assist with making the appointment or relaying a message. Some veterans have no computer skills, so when they need to do something online or send out a document, I assist them.

Why are you committed to this cause?
Although I am not a veteran, my dad and several uncles served. Also, I was working with the former Employment Coordinator here at VNEOC when I was in staffing, sending him job opportunities to share with the veterans he was assisting. I got to know our former Executive Director John Ratka and learned what VNEOC was doing to assist homeless veteran and make their lives better. I really enjoy helping others — whether it’s for employment or encouraging them to be the best they can be. Now that I have been with VNEOC for 2 ½ years, I am very happy I made the choice to come here. I believe it was my calling to finish my career.

What do you hope the general public can better understand about the VNEOC mission?
I would like the public to know that VNEOC’s goal is to do our best with ending homelessness for the Veteran population. These veterans need a 2nd and sometimes 3rd chance in life to develop a better quality of life. They want to thrive within the communities they live in. When a veteran has a solid foundation in life, they want to give back to others who have had similar struggles in their life and show them there is a chance to do better and feel better.

VNEOC helps veteran “one step, one day at a time”

VNEOC helps veteran “one step, one day at a time”

When veteran Jennifer Bynum successfully completed the Transition in Place (TIP) program earlier this summer at Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC), her reward was a home to call her own in her native Texas.

“We helped her create a transition and travel plan that resulted in a home purchase so she could be closer to her family,” said Rachel Hagen, who manages TIP. “Jennifer did all the work — we just helped her navigate the process.”

This work, according to Bynum, included self-care.

“I needed to realize that self-care is paramount with mental illness,” she said. “I needed to build a safe and calm environment. VNEOC helped show me the difference between unhealthy and healthy choices in all facets of my life.”

Her time spent in TIP, she said, was an emotional one.

“It’s hard to grow and go through mental illness,” she added.

Noting Bynum was a participant in TIP for 14 months, Hagen said the program is not “a homeless shelter.”

“We focus on housing, employment, education, mental and medical health,” she said. “We help veterans build their networks for social support, too. We help them get on track.”

In TIP, veterans are expected to assume the lease for their apartment within 6 to 12 months.

“Jennifer worked hard to move through the program,” added Hagen.

According to Bynum, a big part of her struggle was accepting help.

“I had to learn to trust and rely on people’s experiences to help me grow,” she said. “The program showed me how to dive into my short-term and long-term goals for health and healthy living one step and one day at a time.”

In summing up her experience with VNEOC, Bynum said the staff never left [her] side in good or bad days.

“What I needed was loving healers who were professional and driven,” she said. “I could not be more grateful.”

Serving Essex, Middlesex and Barnstable Counties (MA) and Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties (NH), VNEOC provides basic food and housing, advocacy as an Accredited VSO, counseling, peer support, case management, employment and education to veterans and their families.

VNEOC releases new line of t-shirts to support veterans causes

VNEOC releases new line of t-shirts to support veterans causes

Serving the needs of veterans throughout Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC) recently released a new line of t-shirts in partnership with Northeast Promotion & Apparel (NEPA).

According to VNEOC’s John Ford, the messages and graphics on the shirts is what he believes will interest the public. One t-shirt displays a message about veterans defeating COVID-19 while others are aimed toward parents or children of veterans.

“It’s a way for us to promote the important role veterans play in our society and have fun at the same time,” he said. “I’m thrilled at the efforts of Northeast Promotion & Apparel to help create these engaging designs.”

A portion of the proceeds from sales of the t-shirts will support veteran services, some of which include basic food and housing, advocacy as an Accredited VSO, counseling, peer support, case management, employment and education.

For Matthew Olivari, NEPA managing partner, the latest line of t-shirts reflects their appreciation of the sacrifices “veterans have made for our country.”

“NEPA is very in tune with the needs of our veterans,” he said. “It’s why why we teamed up with VNEOC to host an apparel store, accessible through their website, that features a variety of branded apparel as well as a whole section of new ‘veteran’ style t-shirts.”

Ford added, “Each shirt has a logo on the back, too, just below the collar that states, ‘This shirt supports veteran housing.’ When you purchase these shirts, you really make a difference in the lives of those we serve.”

Founded in 1985, VNEOC serves veterans and their families in Essex, Middlesex and Barnstable Counties (MA) and Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties (NH).

To purchase apparel at the VNEOC Store, visit vneoc.itemorder.com.