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Veterans helping veterans

To the editor:

Homeward Bound Adirondacks is a small but effective organization serving the veteran community primarily in northern New York.

We are proud that since 2015, Homeward Bound Adirondacks has been able to conduct active information and transportation service and sponsor many healing retreats, in a variety of venues for a wide range of veterans. Our first retreat in 2015 was a winter family weekend for active-duty soldiers and their families from Fort Drum. In 2019 we held eight retreats for veterans suffering from PTSD alone; some were equine-assisted. In a rustic setting, veterans gathered for recreation, relaxation, good food and the opportunity to bond with other vets.

Subsequent retreats featured hiking, canoeing and team-building exercises. Some of our retreats were for veterans involved in the “Vet to Vet” program out of New York City, it’s a group of women veterans recovering from substance abuse, and a group of spouses of combat veterans. Each retreat is designed to meet the emotional needs of the participants while taking advantage of the healing properties of the Adirondacks.

Our goal for 2020 is to sponsor a number of retreats at our new location, the Sgt. Carlton A. Clark Memorial Veterans Retreat Camp in Onchiota.

Homeward Bound Adirondacks also offers a volunteer-driven veteran transportation service to medical and mental health appointments, emergency outreach and referral services as well as to our retreats, all at no cost to the veterans.

Our volunteer drivers have logged in approximately 168 trips transporting veterans as well as family members. In 2019 the program served 216 veterans.

Homeward Bound Adirondacks has recently opened a drop-in site at 24 Depot St., Saranac Lake, next to the carousel. Currently our hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and we are looking to expand our hours as our demand increases.

There is a growing need for the services of Homeward Bound and other like-minded organizations in the important effort to actively support our veterans. Homeward Bound Adirondacks is honored to be involved.

I would like to stress that Homeward Bound Adirondacks is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. All of our services are at no cost to the veteran; therefore we rely on grants and donations to offer these services. Many organizations are trying to make money off of veterans; we are doing the absolute opposite. Our administrative cost for 2019 was less than 1%. We are all volunteers.

That’s pretty impressive.

Our contact information can be found as follows:

Address: Homeward Bound Adirondacks, P.O. Box 1100, 24 Depot St., Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Executive director: Valerie Ainsworth, LCSW-R

Phone: 518-354-5144

Email: wecare@HomewardBoundAdirondacks.org

Website: www.HomewardBoundAdirondacks.org

Robert Brown

Volunteer driver for Homeward Bound Adirondacks

Lake Placid

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