VAC Construction Update – 5/1/2013

VAC veteran Activity Center

Since its inception in October 2010, Boots on the Ground NY has been running its programs out of the homes, trunks, offices and even saddlebags of its members.  While this approach was well-suited to the active and very personal nature of our work, it had two major shortcomings that inhibited us. First, the scope of our programs was limited because we did not have a central space to store our ever-growing trove of awareness campaign paraphernalia, food pantry items, donated furniture, and other assorted equipment, nor could we host our care package events without the support of other community organizations who graciously donated their space to our mission.  Perhaps of greater importance, we felt as though we were leaving our veterans without a next step once we offered our initial intervention.  Sure, we got them food, helped find housing, provided a shoulder to lean on (or cry on), and offered our friendship, but once the initial crisis was dealt with, there was no next step for these men and women to take on their journey to health, stability, and self sufficiency.  There was no place to go but to the VA, and due to discharge status, many could not even go there for help.  Thus, the idea for a Veteran Activity Center was born.

Now, just a few short years later, the VAC is up and running, though construction is ongoing.  Many of you have supported us over the years by donating money, muscle, and time, and we wanted to take a moment to say thank you for helping us realize the dream of truly leaving no veteran behind, and to show you our next phase, which would not have been possible without all of your support.  Located at 2184 Pond Rd in Ronkonkoma, the VAC is already home to our OEI/OIF Combat Veteran support group, and thanks to the many kind contributors who share our vision, the rest of our programs will soon be based out of our new home.  In addition, several members of our community will working with us to offer new services to our veterans, including expanding our offering of support groups, and offering alternative traditional therapies such as acupuncture and Reiki.

We hope you are as excited as we are about the opening of the VAC.  Please take a moment to check out the pictures below to see how we are turning a hollow concrete shell into a place of peace, healing, and fraternity for our veterans.

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