Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
It was so remarkable to receive a call from Elisabeth Brady of Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial letting me know that I had been selected as this year’s Hometown Hero for building community and presenting Haverhill in a positive way through my articles, blog posts and photography for The Heartbeat of Haverhill and Haverhill Life magazine.
For those who might not be aware, “Modern Woodmen of America is a member-owned fraternal financial services organization. Together with our more than 750,000 members, we’ve been touching lives and securing futures since 1883. Modern Woodmen and those we serve work together to identify local needs and make an impact in communities nationwide. It’s all part of what makes us unique as a fraternal financial services organization.” Elisabeth Brady is our local representative and she is intrinsically involved in our community.
Part of the Hometown Hero award was a $100 donation to be made to the charity of my choice. The title of the award made me feel honored of course, but in light of the real heroes, our veterans and those who serve them, my contribution seemed less significant so I was anxious to pay it forward and recognize them with the check.
In honor of my father a World War II US Army Air Corps veteran who passed away last year, I chose a charity that our family believes in strongly. In fact, my father before passing requested that Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC) be one of the non-profits suggested for donation in lieu of flowers at his funeral. Veterans Northeast Outreach has a large campus on Reed Street in Haverhill as well as many other properties in Haverhill and beyond that are used for transitional, emergency, and permanent housing for American vets in need. This group provides support and services to veterans throughout Massachusetts, and helps make our state one of the best in terms of veteran care.
VNEOC states that “The mission of the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center is to provide the highest quality of services to assist, support, and advocate for all Veterans and their families in Essex, Middlesex, Barnstable and Rockingham Counties… We provide a continuum of care to Veterans, their families, from the very basic food and shelter needs to advocacy, information, referral, career, and education services.
VNOC also sponsors a number of outreach initiatives to Veterans of all eras and families of Veterans. The Center is funded, in part, through contracts with Department of Veterans Affairs, Mass. Department of Veterans Services, US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, and private donations.”
Just one day after Retired Veteran Services Officer of North Andover Edward V. Mitchell assumed the duties of Executive Director of the Center, he met with Modern Woodmen’s Elisabeth Brady, Chief Operations Officer Jason Gilbert and me to receive the donation. We were given a tour of the facilities and a description of the new properties at the corner of Washington and River Streets that are under construction and slated to open in Spring 2020 with a parking garage and 44-units of additional veterans housing.
Our visit coincided with the Stand Down where homeless and at-risk veterans and their families from all over Massachusetts are transported to the center to be connected with services they might need and supplies that will help provide comfort and a sense of stability. Peters Farm Stand of Salem NH, set up a booth where the veterans could pick up some free produce. Stylists provide haircuts, and veterans organizations give advice, make connections that can get people into housing and supply necessities like underwear and socks. Their food pantry is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30am – 2:30pm.
Seeing the large quantity of people who received support and considerate and kind care, reinforced my choice of Veterans Northeast Outreach Center to receive the donation. Thank you to Elisabeth Brady and Modern Woodmen Financial for giving me the opportunity to support this worthwhile organization.
If veterans are homeless, or at immediate risk of homelessness, they should contact VNEOC right away at 1-888-866-2838 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to donate VNEOC, you can do so through the VNEOC PayPal link or call 978-372-3626 to inquire about donating food, clothing, or home goods. To learn about the extensive services offered go to the Outreach link on their website.
Text and Photos (c) Alison Colby-Campbell