The Eastern CT Veterans Community Center is a safe and positive space where Veterans and active military and their families can come to meet other military families, share experiences and resources, learn about programs, benefits and events specific to our military, and receive professional development and business consultations. We have veterans ranging from WWII, Korean War to present day deployments. Any veteran can stop in for our weekly coffeehouse every Wednesday from 9:00-11:00 AM, enjoy a muffin and cup of coffee, good conversation, game of cards or meetings with our federal and state legislative delegations. Start Your Own Business classes, professional development classes, business mentoring, health and wellness programs, support groups and family recreational programs are all available.
Our mission is to support veterans and our military families and to advocate for their interests while providing them a safe, positive environment to meet, learn and grow. We accomplish this by: advocating for veterans programs, benefits and rights; recognizing, honoring and appreciating our soldiers; providing a safe environment for Veterans to talk, share and learn; helping Veterans find quality jobs so they can support themselves and their families; encouraging and mentoring Veteran entrepreneurs; easing the transition from military service to civilian life; providing information and assistance for all aspects of the GI Bill benefits and VA procedures; raising awareness of Veterans’ issues within their communities. We recognize and value the contributions that you, are veterans and active duty military, make to our community in your role as students, employees, business owners, parents and community leaders. We understand the sacrifices you have made through your service to our country and appreciate the leadership and broad experiences you bring to our lives, our community and to our center.
We are funded by the Windham Region Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Our partners include: The Windham Region Chamber of Commerce, the CT Department of Veterans Affairs, the Willimantic Elks, Windham Arts and the Town of Windham, CT.
HONOR THEIR MEMORY PROGRAM:
Purchase and maintain solar lights for all flagpoles in cemeteries and veteran memorials. Purchase and maintain American and POW flags on all cemetery/memorial flagpoles. Identify all veterans buried in Windham cemeteries upon application to the cemetery. Installing metal flag holders and small American flags on every veteran grave. Maintaining the gardens and property around Memorial Park on Main St. and Veteran Memorial in Windham. Keep an updated list of Windham veterans and their branch of service to be honored at ceremonies. Restore veteran graves that are damaged and maintain veteran graves that no longer have families.
Wreaths Across America
We honor our fallen heroes by placing wreaths on their graves during the holiday season and removing the American flags until spring. We are assisted by the American Guard and other veteran groups.
Providing a safe environment for Veterans to meet every Wednesday from 9-11 AM at the Community Center. There are weekly guests that include: agent orange advocacy, VA benefits, retirement options, senior health issues, Bradley Air Museum, national archives, military history, yoga, info on PTSD and veteran suicide, medication review, UCONN football games, history and personal experiences of veterans.
FEED OUR VETS:
Working with several food distribution programs and our partners, we provide weekly food boxes to any veteran regardless of need, including home deliveries. We have delivered hundreds of meals and personal supplies to both active service members and veterans.
We provide group and individual workshops where we work with Veterans to help them start their own businesses, find funding, create business plans, apply for grants, update HR and operational policies, improve and learn new technology and create marketing strategies. Our partners include: SBA, USDA, WBDC, SBDC, CEDF.
We work with state and federal lawmakers to advocate for veteran friendly legislation and provide feedback to them on veteran needs.
VIETNAM WAR 50TH YEAR COMMEMORATIVE PARTNER:
We are official partners with the Vietnam War 50th Year Commemoration Commission under the Secretary of the Defense and as such we host a minimum of two events per year honoring our Vietnam veterans and pinning them with official lapel pins.
VISIT OUR VETS PROGRAM:
Our veteran volunteers visit homebound, ill and recovering veterans in our region to do wellness checks, offer them friendship, spiritual support and comradery, and make appropriate recommendations and referrals for services and programs.
CONNECT OUR VETS PROGRAM:
In partnership with the CT VA and the social workers in our region, we provide i-pads and internet service to those veterans who are at risk of suicide. These tools allow them to attend group sessions, visit with their therapists, social workers and doctors, keep them connected to their families and friends and apply for VA benefits and programs, as well as professional development courses and workforce assistance.
LOVE OUR VETS:
Many of our veterans return home from service or are discharged from inpatient programs and need basic supplies for personal hygiene, pots, pans, utensils, plates, furniture, appliances, cleaning supplies, linens and clothing. We collect new and some used items for them to make their transition as easy as possible.
NEWSLETTER AND SOCIAL MEDIA:
We keep our veterans informed of changes in VA policies and benefits, new programs and services available to them, discounts, events and opportunities through our email newsletter and facebook page.
COMMUNITY MILITARY THEMED EVENTS:
Our veteran volunteers host several events honoring veterans, the military and historical moments throughout the year including Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, National Vietnam War Day and Veterans Day. They are always free and open to the public, all military families and branches of the US Armed Forces.
HEALTH & SUPPORT SYSTEMS:
In partnership with the VA and other health and wellness providers, we host support meetings such as AA, NA, PTSD and Dementia. We have a direct line to the VA health system and mental health services as well as holistic and wellness providers, to ensure the overall wellness of our veterans. We distribute personal items, clothing and business attire to Veterans who need some assistance.
Eastern CT Regional Veterans Committee
In servicing our veterans we recognized the need to bring together all of those professionals, nonprofits and businesses who share a mission of advancing veterans. Together we are a more powerful voice for advocacy, we collaborate and share resources and information, and better serve our heroes and their families. We meet monthly via Zoom. We invite anyone interested in our mission to join us. You find our meeting dates on the calendar at WindhamChamber.com.