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Sullivan County holds veterans outreach day

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Albany/HV: Sullivan County holds veterans outreach day
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Veterans in Sullivan County are getting some help from the community during an outreach day at the Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless in Monticello. Eva McKend reports.

MONTICELLO, N.Y. -- For one 89-year-old World War II veteran, a little help is just what he needs.

"Things are going so high and I’m going backward every month. It's getting harder and harder," said Alfred Houghtaling.

Several Sullivan County groups held a veteran's outreach day to help the heroes that served our country. Veterans and active duty military personnel could get boxes and bags of food. The event also helped connect them to other county resources. Twenty-four-year-old Jonathan Roa learned more about how a path back to college would be possible after serving in Iraq.

"Programs typically for school and education, just basically what the VA offers in general now that I’m completely out of the military and just trying to gain medical services for injuries that I had sustained while I was participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom," said Roa.

Veterans groups say the men and women who have served this country qualify for government assistance. Their goal is to erase the stigma that comes along with asking for that help.

"We are finding a lot of veterans back in the day were shunned and they were embarrassed to be a veteran even though they served this country. Still to this day, it’s embedded in their brains that they don’t come out to ask for help, so we are trying to let them know we are a friendly program, that it’s not just about help, it’s about assisting them in moving a little further," said Christine Schiff, Vice President of the Committee for Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans.

"They deserve to have access to these things, but sometimes, it's a difficult thing to get folks to take advantage of things that are out there for them," said Kathy Kreiter, Program Administrator for Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless.

A push forward that many would argue is owed to these veterans.

"We all gave a sacrifice to honor the country, protect and serve," said veteran Donald Jones.

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