From the community

Maine Veterans Set the Example

Posted June 21, 2014, at 4:29 p.m.
Last modified June 22, 2014, at 7:45 a.m.
Founders of Maine Veterans Community Service Projects. Alley Smith (right) Sam Szlembarski (left) both combat veterans.
Founders of Maine Veterans Community Service Projects. Alley Smith (right) Sam Szlembarski (left) both combat veterans.

One of our greatest resources in navigating the transition from combat to home is our Maine Veterans. Many Mainers continue the oath to serve long after their military careers are over.

Today, it is important to recognize that many veterans are successful in focusing their energy, talents, commitment and leadership skills on tackling challenges here in Maine. Those issues include suicide, poverty, homelessness, joblessness, substance abuse, hunger, healthcare and access to basic necessities.

Hundreds of veterans are involved in education, advocacy, outreach and community service across the state. Several examples of veteran leaders are Jerry DeWitt, David Cote, TJay Wheeler, Rich Oberg, Bettyann Sheats, Mike Hein, Mike Tilton, Jack Mosher, Albert Lepine, Edward Paul Cormier and many others. They lead by example.

Communities are growing stronger because veterans are finding vital and uplifting ways to apply their skills at home. Their leadership extends to caring for the families of military service members, deployed service members and returning warriors. In addition, community service and volunteerism offers veterans and their families countless opportunities to make an impact on serious problems and issues.

In April of 2014, Maine Veterans Community Service Projects (MVCSP) was founded to enable veterans to serve alongside one another as role models and mentors. The mission of MVCSP is to honor, to inspire and to recognize. MVCSP is a collective effort that empowers veterans to serve in new ways with modern challenges.

The mission of MVCSP is to recognize veterans who make a difference in Maine. The goal of the project is to act as a supportive network, to inspire others and to bridge the gap between military and civilian communities.

In two short months, MVCSP has generated over 160 supporters and over 100 members. Some members are veterans. Some are active or reserve service members. MVCSP also welcomes families and friends.

Alley Smith created MVCSP in conjunction with her tasks as an AmeriCorps VetCorps VISTA: Volunteer in Service to America. Smith is a US Marine Corps veteran. She serves in the US Navy Reserve. She also served in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.

Smith is a Veterans Prevention Coordinator at Healthy Androscoggin. She is a member of Team Red White & Blue, Team Rubicon and CrossFit Lewiston.

If you’re interested in learning more about Maine Veterans Community Service Projects please contact: maineveteransCSP@gmail.com or visit www.facebook.com/MaineveteransCSP

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