Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dear Friends of Veterans, and Veterans Agents, Public Officials and interested parties.

Until last week on December 7th, 2011,(Pearl Harbor Day 70 years later,) we in Harwich, had no listing for our towns' veterans agent!
Brewster still has no listing on their town's website for their veteran agent as well, it would behoove us all to contact our various town web masters, as I have in Harwich and ascertain as to WHY we to seem hide our veterans service outreach telephone number numbers and email addresses.

Veterans have done their share and we continually disrespect them, and their families sacrifice, we at least owe it to ourselves and our veterans never forget the contributions and help these warriors and their families to have all services made directly and inconspicuous  available.

We must go beyond the yellow ribbons, and Veterans Day parades, and memorial day celebrations to actively help our veterans and their under-served families, by developing real outreach in actions, directories, and websites since this the the new medium of ideas and community information.

We should have town blogs and facebook communities helping each-others' communities as well, in the spirit of rationalization. We should also have a county wide veterans task force to be introspective and be in consultation with all towns to do a needs assessment of our Barnstable veterans.

We also I believe need a county mental health coordinator to connect the dots with both regular citizens, and their families as well as veterans, and their familie, to secure the much needed substance abuse counseling and treatment other than incarceration in the Barnstable House of Corrections.  Perhaps we should correct out thinking about treatment of mentally un-well individuals, and as the ADA acts states not  treat these folks as felons and criminals, but left untreated with PTSD and other maladies, they will cost our communities one way or another, and not forget that the human cost of war is ongoing as collateral damaged folks who live, and work among us. We need a alternative plan of action, rather that locking them up, and trowing away the keys. The real key is prevention, assessment and treatment and transportation to such treatment, county wide.

Why do we seem to incarcerate our veterans at an alarming rate in our state prisons and county jails? Why don't we have a census of the veterans in jails? The Massachusetts Bar association when asked recently how many members are veterans, stated "they knew not how many were veterans and never counted them!

We propose a new sensitivity for and to veterans, but it up to all of us to point the way forward and embrace our retuning brothers and sister veterans in facts and in deeds.

John Bangert

Veteran Advocate

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