Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Veterans Service Agency Director Nelson Eddy Rivera USN (Ret.) have announced Dutchess County’s annual Veteran’s Appreciation Day will be held on Saturday, November 3rd from 12pm to 4pm at the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center in Hyde Park.
The Veterans Service Agency has been slated to receive additional resources in County Executive Steinhaus’ 2008 Executive Budget including a new Veterans counselor position and new transportation funding. The 2008 budget is scheduled for release on November 1st and as previously announced will provide a considerable tax rate decrease for county taxpayers. The budget will also reduce the county’s 2008 tax levy by keeping the 2008 spending change below the rate of inflation.
“We want to show our veterans how much we appreciate their sacrifice and service. Our Veterans Appreciation Day event and our 2008 Veterans initiatives are part of the way we say ‘THANK YOU’ to our local veterans and their families for all they have done for our country,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
The 2008 Executive Budget will feature funding for a new veterans counselor. Over the past two years, the Veterans Service Agency has experienced a 40% increase in contacts and services rendered to local veterans and their families. The new counselor position will enable the department to increase presence at its satellite office in Beacon and at the Department of Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Pine Plains and Poughkeepsie. The additional staffing will also allow for the opportunity for home visits for senior veterans and/or widows/widowers. Outreach efforts will also increase with additional participation in community events.
“As our veterans continue to return home from Iraq and Afghanistan, there is an increased need for services and support. We want to make sure we are available to serve their needs,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
County Executive Steinhaus also allocated 2008 funding for veteran transportation. Transportation to medical appointments at the VA hospital and clinics is often a critical issue for many low-income, disabled or elderly veterans. The 2008 budget will provide funding for the Veterans Service Agency to help coordinate transportation assistance for those medical appointments. Transportation will be available for veterans who have no other mode of transportation and do not qualify for services offered by Dutchess County Division of Aging Services.
To assist veterans with their transportation needs, the Veterans Service Agency is working on having the County’s LOOP bus service add a stop at the VA Hospital. Low income veterans will be provided bus passes to get to their appointments. The department will also work with disabled and elderly veterans to coordinate private transportation services who are unable to utilize LOOP bus service.
The Veterans Appreciation Day event on November 3rd will feature more than 30 agencies for veterans and their families to learn more about all of the services and resources available to them from representatives of Dutchess County Government as well as many other Federal, State, Local and non-profit agencies.
County Executive Steinhaus will host a special Medal Award Presentation at 2pm. Medals will be presented to seven veterans from different eras including World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam War and Persian Gulf War.
“Veterans Appreciation Day is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to our County veterans and families to share information about the support and services available to them,” said Veterans Service Agency Director Nelson Eddy Rivera USN, (Ret).
Event attendees can take advantage of Complimentary admission to the FDR Presidential Library and Museum as well as a complimentary viewing of the “A Rendezvous with History” film. Veterans will have an exclusive opportunity to enjoy a complimentary tour of the FDR Home. Reservations are required for the tour. Please call (845) 486-2060 for reservations as space for the tour is limited. There will also be entertainment, refreshments and door prizes throughout the day.
“We recognize and appreciate the sacrifice of our Dutchess County veterans. That is why we have increased 2008 funding to the Veterans Service Agency for an additional counselor and transportation assistance and why we are again hosting our annual Veterans Appreciation Day,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
The Dutchess County Veterans Service Agency is dedicated to ensuring Dutchess County veterans and their families receive all the benefits they are entitled by their Honorable Service to our country. For more information about services and support available to county veterans, contact the Veterans Service Agency at (845) 486-2060 or visit www.dutchessny.gov.