Full Recap: Forum on NYC Veterans Policy

Thanks to everyone who came to our first event, the Forum on NYC Veterans Policy. Your attendance, support, and participation made it a tremendous success. If you couldn't make it, be sure to view the photos and audio clips below to share in this informative, insightful, and community-building event. We hope to see you next time.


Photo by Omar T. Columbus for the NYC Veterans Alliance

Introductory Remarks

The remarks below were delivered by NYC Veterans Alliance Interim Director Kristen L. Rouse. These remarks were not audio recorded due to microphone configuration.

Good evening, everyone, and thank you for coming.

Welcome to the Forum on New York City Veterans Policy, the first event presented by the New York City Veterans Alliance, and the first in a series of events we’ll be hosting to bring together New York City veterans of all service eras, our family members, service providers, and civilians in our community who care about us.

Photo by Omar T. Columbus for the NYC Veterans Alliance

My name is Kristen Rouse, and I am the Interim Director of the New York City Veterans Alliance. I’m an Army veteran, and I served three tours in Afghanistan, in 2006, 2010, and 2012, for a total of 31 months in country. My first tour, I served on active duty with the 10th Mountain Division as a supply sergeant. My second and third tours, I was a logistics officer in the National Guard. During my second tour I was the only female officer attached to an infantry battalion in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, where I worked with the Afghan National Army and was part of planning and executing resupply convoys to four combat outposts. I’ve been part, as have others who will be on stage and who are with us in the audience tonight, of the changing face of American combat troops—and veterans.

Those of us who have served post-9/11 know that we stand on the shoulders of the generations of veterans who came before us, and I’ll name Pat Gualtieri, who passed away last week, as just one among many giants who have made New York City and our country a better place for veterans. Since 2001, so many resources for returning veterans have become available, from both government and nonprofits—resources that were never available for veterans who came home from previous conflicts and overseas service.

This has happened in large part because of the work and sacrifices of veterans who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam—who have wanted to make sure that this generation of veterans had an easier time than they did. It’s still hard to come back from deployments and become a civilian again. This audience knows that better than anyone.

Photo by Omar T. Columbus for the NYC Veterans Alliance

Please raise your hand if you served in Vietnam, or previous conflicts.  If you were deployed anywhere across the globe during the Cold War. Panama. Desert Shield and Storm. Somalia, Bosnia, or Haiti. Anywhere post-9/11. I thank all of you for your service. Please raise your hand if you are a spouse, family member, or loved one of a veteran. I thank all of you for standing beside us through our service and struggles, and for being part of our success now that we’re home. Please raise your hand if you work to provide services to veterans. I thank all of you for doing the important work that improves the lives of everyone in this room, and beyond.

New York City has an estimated 220,000 veterans and service members, and there are an additional 250,000 spouses and dependents who make up veteran households—which means that, taken together, about one in sixteen New Yorkers are in some way affected by city-level policy related to veterans, and our city government has a vitally important role in how well we’re able to access the federal, state, and city benefits and services we’ve earned. In recent months, some of us have been critical of government policies, but we also want to honor the service of our fellow veterans who go to work every day in city government to make our lives better. We have here tonight Latisha and Robert from the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, and Oswaldo from the Public Advocate’s office. Thanks for all that you do, and thank you for being here and coming together as part of this community.

A few months ago, a group of veterans and service providers came together to talk about creating an organization that would empower veterans to be more and do more here in New York City. The result is the NYC Veterans Alliance, a nonpartisan, grassroots coalition dedicated to connecting NYC veterans and organizations, advocating for improved policies that affect veterans and their families, informing the NYC veterans community and the public about policies and news affecting us, and empowering veterans to speak up and take action. An important part of our mission is recognition and inclusion of all veterans, regardless of their era of service or discharge status. We encourage all organizations serving veterans to be as inclusive of all veterans as they can. We can never forget the veterans who served before us. We are in the midst of the largest drawdown of troops and downscaling of combat forces in recent memory, and we have tens of thousands of new veterans coming home to the New York Metro area, and we still have tens of thousands of pre-9/11 veterans who are still struggling with mental and physical health conditions related to their military service. To meet these challenges, we must stand united as a community.

I am proud and honored to be leading the effort to establish the NYC Veterans Alliance. We have much work ahead to create this as a member-driven organization that connects with veterans and organizations across all five boroughs. We want you all to become members of the Alliance, and we’ll be opening up membership in August. We will also be planning more events like this to discuss policy, to get veterans—regardless of political affiliation—elected to local office, to highlight and empower veterans as entrepreneurs and leaders in business, nonprofits, and the arts—and much, much more. If you signed up for this event online, you’ll probably be getting an email from me in the near future asking you to get involved with us. I hope you’ll stay in touch, follow our website at NYCveteransalliance.org, connect with us on Facebook, please consider becoming a member next month, and please come to our future events.

After months of City Council hearings, rallies on the steps of City Hall, and statements by politicians and city officials—we thought it was time for veterans of all eras, of different political backgrounds, experiences, and opinions to finally come together and have a public conversation amongst ourselves about what is happening at the city level in veterans policy. So I reached out to Alexandra Kelly from the New York Public Library who happily supported this and was key in getting the New York Public Library to allow us to use this amazing space at no cost to us. The interim advisory board and founding officers of the NYC Veterans Alliance jumped in to help plan this, and I’d like for them to stand.

More than twenty organizations and initiatives enthusiastically supported this event, and wanted to be included in tonight’s event programs to tell all of you what they offer veterans and how veterans can get involved, so please take a look at your programs and help spread the word through our community to get veterans plugged in with these great organizations. Our generous sponsors at IAVA, Army Week, and SempeRide helped us cover costs and otherwise make tonight happen. Thank you Paul Rieckhoff, Chris Page, and Fredy Tello. Thanks also to our veteran photographer Omar Columbus—an Air Force veteran with an amazing story, a fantastic person, and a phenomenally talented photographer. Please reach out to Omar if you ever need a photographer, or even if you just need a word of encouragement.

But what’s most important about tonight is that all of you came. Your presence, more than anything, shows us that veterans in New York City want to come together to talk about what we need, what we can do together, and how we can make the greatest city in the world also the best place in the world for our nation’s veterans. No single person, no single organization, and no one political party has all the right answers—but together we can find the right ways to move forward that benefit all of us as the New York City veterans community.

Last month, the NYC Veterans Alliance released a report on a survey we conducted earlier this year that asked members of the NYC veterans community what they thought about sixteen planned or proposed veterans policy initiatives for NYC government. Survey respondents—the majority of whom were NYC veterans—indicated overwhelming support for each initiative. Suicide prevention efforts got by far the strongest support, and we saw very strong support for improving existing city resources for veterans. And in order to properly address all of the initiatives we surveyed, like better city coordination with VA healthcare, tracking veterans receiving city services, closing gaps in programs to end veteran homelessness, overseeing city funds that go to organizations serving veterans, integrating the needs of aging veterans into city services, making sure veterans treatment courts are established and functioning across all five boroughs, making veteran owned businesses competitive for city contracts, establishing an across the board veterans hiring preference for city government, and making the most effective use of the city’s Veterans Advisory Board—the city needs to better fund and resource Veterans Affairs, and give consideration to creating an independent Department of Veterans Affairs for the city to offer services for veterans that are on par with other cities like Boston or San Diego.

Following pressure from veterans and advocates in this room, our City government came through last month with a notable increase for veterans in the 2016 budget. The City Council substantially increased the amount of funding it provides to organizations serving veterans in the community, and the de Blasio administration added more staffing for the city’s veteran homelessness outreach, as well as finally restoring the veterans benefits counselors that had been slashed from last year’s budget to create a Veterans Outreach Program that we hope will go a long way toward reaching veterans across the five boroughs and connecting them with the benefits and services they’ve earned. This is an important step forward. But we have much more to do to ensure no veteran is left behind, and that New York City becomes the best place in the country for veterans to live, have families, and have meaningful careers—and to lead, serve, and give back to the city that we love.

There’s no way we can cover every issue tonight in with the limited amount of time we have. But I do hope that if you aren’t already involved in local veterans policy, that you’ll get involved, and stay involved. This forum is only intended to start the conversation—and we hope you’ll be able to join us to continue the conversation afterward at the Galway Pub on 36th Street, between 5th and Madison, where we have an upstairs room reserved. Although the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, retired General Loree Sutton, couldn’t join us for the forum tonight because she is attending another event, she told me she will try to meet us at the Galway. So I hope you can be there, too.

Tonight I am so proud to bring you a panel that includes veterans of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as an incredible civilian advocate for veterans. Our moderator is an Army veteran, who I’ll introduce shortly. On an administrative note about tonight’s event—as part of being able to use this incredible facility, we have to have everyone out of the building before the Library closes at 8 PM. We want to allow you to ask questions, but to best manage our time, we ask that you please write your questions on the white notecards we’ve provided. We’ll collect them during the panel discussion, and select a few of them for a short Q&A at the end. When we wrap up the evening, please exit the auditorium safely, but quickly. We hope to keep the conversation going outside the Library, and at the Galway Pub.

Before we bring up our panel and moderator, I want to introduce a special guest. But to give a proper introduction, I first have to tell you about my dear friend, Kate Oliver. Kate is a hero to me, and embodies what makes me proudest about our newest generation of veterans. She enlisted in the United States Army the day after September 11, 2001. She served in the Army’s First Cavalry Division, and she went to Iraq in 2003, where she earned her Combat Medical Badge, and served in grueling conditions on what turned out to be an eighteen month deployment. Kate will never hesitate to tell you how immensely proud she is of her service. I met Kate when we both deployed to the Philippines as veteran disaster relief volunteers with Team Rubicon in the days immediately following Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.  I was impressed by her tireless efforts to help patient after patient who’d been injured in the worst devastation I’ve ever seen. When I met Kate, I’d recently returned from my third Afghanistan deployment, and was struggling to find a sense of purpose and meaning, and to put my civilian life back together. As a sister veteran and as truly the most selfless and humble person I know, Kate has been a true friend and a tremendous support in my own journey home.

Kate couldn’t be with us this evening, but fortunately she’s sent her husband, who also happens to be pretty great. There is a lot I could tell you about Kate’s husband’s professional life—and I encourage you to look all of that up on your own. But more important than what he does for a living—he is the proud husband of a veteran, a great friend of troops and veterans, and an important member of our NYC veterans community. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome John Oliver.

Special Guest Remarks

Photo by IAVA

Listen to full audio clips of John Oliver and our panel discussion  using the SoundCloud player below:

View our slideshow of our excellent panel discussion:

View our slideshow of our post-event reception at the Galway Pub:



Phoebe Gavin joined the Army in 2004. After 4 years, including a 15-month deployment to Iraq where she was sexually assaulted by another member of her unit, she left active duty to pursue her education.  During her transition, she experienced depression and anxiety that nearly drove her to suicide. Volunteering with VSOs helped her connect with the veteran community and professional help, both were integral in her recovery. ​​Her passion for activism continues and has expanded to included gender, race, and poverty. She's currently a freelance writer specializing in social justice.



Lee Covino is a US Army veteran who served in 1970-71.  He became an advocate for vets affairs as a peer counselor while attending the College of Staten Island on the GI Bill from 1973-1977.  From 1980-1984, he worked as an intervention counselor for the VA’s Vietnam Veterans Outreach Center in Brooklyn and Staten Island, assisting close to 1,000 Vietnam era and combat vets.  In July, 1990, he was appointed to the Staten Island Borough President’s Cabinet, where he served as the Veterans Affairs Advisor and Director of Contracts & Procurement until his retirement in March, 2014.  In May 2002, Covino was appointed to the City’s Veterans Advisory Board by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.  He was re-appointed to the board by the Mayor in 2007 and in 2012, ending his term as Vice-Chairman of the Board in April, 2015. Over the years, Lee has played a major role in bringing the Vet Center and the VA Clinic to Staten Island, as well as in obtaining a Staten Island bus link to the VA Hospital in Brooklyn.  Working with the Borough President, he helped coordinate annual Fleet Week activities, developed Operation Vet Care, which brought the VA’s outreach van to minority-based areas on Staten Island, Operation Vet Call, which assisted vets with resume development and job search through the State Department of Labor, and Operation Vet Link, which assisted veterans with learning basic computer skills through free courses donated by local business schools.  He is a member of the VFW, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Catholic War Veterans, AMVETS and the 369th Veterans Association.  Covino also serves as Treasurer of the United Staten Island Veterans Organization, Inc. (USIVO), an umbrella group of Staten Island veteran organizations which sponsor the annual Memorial Day Parade. Lee was installed into the CSI Alumni Hall of Fame in March, 1989.  In 2004, the College of Staten Island Archives catalogued a collection of veteran’s issues which Covino was involved in from 1973 to 1994, online at: www.library.csi.cuny.edu/archives/FindingAids/fa0011.htm Lee lives in St. George, Staten Island with his wife, Catherine.  His daughter Mariel is an alumna of the College of Staten Island and Hunter College.


Coco Culhane is the founder and director of the Veteran Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center. She is an adjunct professor of clinical law at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches the Veterans' Rights Clinic. From 2011-2013 she was an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the CIGNA Foundation and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.  She was formerly on the Steering Committee of the Veterans' Mental Health Coalition and chaired the Communications Committee in New York City for two years. She has presented on veterans' legal issues and conducted trainings for attorneys, social workers, and students at conferences across the country. Culhane received a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, where she was the symposium editor of the Brooklyn Law Review and president of the student health law association. Prior to law school she was an editor at The New Republic for six years. She received a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University.


Brett Morash, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Veterans Services at Services for the UnderServed in New York City and a retired U.S. Naval Officer.  His programs focus on the needs and supports for the veteran community including homeless prevention, unemployment, health and wellness.  He has been an adjunct professor at Norwich University since 2012, where he teaches Project Management in the Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis program.  He is also a director on the board of the Josephine Herrick Project, a New York City based non-profit specializing in bringing photography to underserved communities. Dr. Morash is a 1993 Marine Transportation graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.   Following graduation he served two back to back division officer tours on USS HARLAN COUNTY (LST 1196) and then USS DETROIT (AOE 4) before transferring to NROTC Unit College of the Holy Cross.  While serving at NROTC Holy Cross , while there he earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Framingham State College in June 2000. Following his departure from NROTC Holy Cross he was assigned to USS BARRY (DDG 52) Combat Systems Officer until February 2004. While aboard BARRY he deployed to the Arabian Gulf and Horn of Africa. Brett attended the U.S. Naval War College where he was selected to serve on both the CNO Strategic Studies Group as an Associate Fellow, and Halsey Group Alpha.  During his tour he was awarded the 2006 William Middendorf II Award for Student Research, the 2006 Surface Navy Association Award, and the 2004 Admiral “Ike” Kidd Naval Intelligence Award. Following the U.S. Naval War College he served as Executive Officer of the USS CHANCELLORSVILLE (CG 62) and then USS SHILOH (CG 67) forward deployed in Yokosuka Japan. Following his transfer from USS SHILOH he was assigned to Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa forward deployed to Camp Lemonier Djibouti as the Theater Security Branch Chief. Following his departure from CJTF-HOA he served as a Military Advisor to the United States Mission to the United Nations prior to his arrival at the U.S. Naval War College as a uniformed faculty member, retiring in 2013 transitioning to his current role at Services for the UnderServed Inc. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, three Naval Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Medals, and various unit, campaign, expeditionary, and service awards.


Brooklyn native Tireak C. Tulloch enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in June 2000 as a tactical data network systems specialist. He was deployed to Iraq in 2003 with Alpha Company, 6th Communication Battalion, supporting ANGLICO Marines and Navy SEALS with classified network access along various points alongside our British counterparts. Tireak deployed again in June 2004 to Camp Blue Diamond, Iraq, where he provided technical liaison support to an Army signals unit and handled network security for 1st Marine Division. After completing his second tour in 2005, Tireak started to look for work in his field of expertise. In 2006, Tireak took an entry-level technical position with MTA Long Island Bus. He separated from the Marine Corps in 2008 and in 2009 started a new position with MTA Long Island Rail Road as a Junior Network Engineer. In 2010, he attended a retreat for combat veterans hosted by the Coming Home Project as has been advocating for veterans ever since. He is also a spokesman for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and currently resides in Huntington, New York.


Vadim Panasyuk is a Veteran Transition Manager for IAVA's Rapid Response Referral  Program (RRRP). He provides referral services to veterans and their families in order to connect them with internal and external service providers to address housing, employment, child care, financial assistance, mental health, and other needed services. He received his MSW from Fordham University and served in the U.S. Army deploying to Iraq twice for Operation Iraqi Freedom III and V with the 3rd Infantry Division.

Event Sponsors

The organizations listed below provided monetary and other vital support for this event. This listing does not constitute endorsement of any specific policy position of the NYC Veterans Alliance.


Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) provides case management services to veterans of all eras from NYC, NY State, and California over phone and email. We have a team of Veteran Transition Managers who all have master's degrees in social work or the equivalent providing thorough assessment and referral services to resources that will assist veterans in need. We help veterans navigate the maze and provide support while doing so. Additionally, IAVA hosts regular community-building events called VetTogethers in New York and around the country. Our most recent was a screening of the movie Max at the end of June. All VetTogethers are listed on our website at iava.org.


SempeRide Transportation is a start-up veteran owned and operated small business.  It was established with the vision to provide affordable and reliable transportation options within the NYC metropolitan area and Tri-State region. We also constantly strive to recruit and employ veterans as our preferred drivers. SempeRide was formed with the premise to serve the transportation needs of the disabled population as the preferred clientele. The disabled community is also at a disadvantage when it comes to finding reliable and plentiful transportation options. No passenger should be waiting longer than normal times or be excluded from requesting and obtaining adequate transportation services. Veterans and disabled veterans are highly regarded and appreciated for their sacrifices and dedicated service to our nation. SempeRide will live by its motto of always providing a ride, always on time. Learn more at www.semperide.com.


The New York Public Library has sponsored several recent veterans initiatives, to include the NYC Veterans Oral History Project that was conducted in 2013, and can be accessed online at www.nypl.org/audiovideo/veterans.  Panels, career fairs, and other veterans events have also been hosted at several library locations across the five boroughs. Currently the Mid-Manhattan Library at 455 Fifth Avenue is a partner with Robin Hood’s Veterans Initiative as a Single Stop location to help veterans—regardless of service era or discharge status—and their families access public benefits, veteran’s benefits, jobs, housing, mental health, education, and other social services on site. To learn more about the Single Stop services available at Mid-Manhattan Library, visit singlestopusa.org/program/veterans-initiative or call 212-340-0861. 

Supporting Organizations

In addition to the Event Sponsors, the organizations listed below support the informational intent of the Forum on NYC Veterans Policy, and offer services and/or opportunities for veterans and family members. This listing does not constitute endorsement of any specific policy position of the NYC Veterans Alliance.

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce launched a Veteran Business Affairs Council (VBAC) last year January. The goal of the business council is to advocate on behalf of veterans and veteran owned businesses and not-for-profits concerning economic issues that will further the reintegration process. The VBAC also works to enhance the rapport between veteran groups to build a common advocacy agenda for helping veterans and their families find financial success; including but not limited to, assisting veterans in starting their own businesses, becoming a veteran certified business through the VA, and for those seeking a job to educate businesses as to the incentives a business can access by simply hiring a veteran. To learn more or get involved, contact Avi Leshes at [email protected].

City Bar Justice Center – Veteran Assistance Project, launched in the fall of 2007 was created to provide free legal assistance to veterans in the New York City area with VA Disability claims before the New York City Regional Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans Assistance Project connects veterans with volunteer attorneys who have been trained in veterans benefits issues. Monthly intake clinics are held at the New York City Bar Association.  A trained volunteer is assigned to speak to each veteran and help him/her with applications for disability benefits, pensions, survivors benefits, overpayments, and denial of claims. Appointments are required to attend the clinic.  Please call our hotline number to make an appointment at 1-877-564-3383.

Civic Hall is a community center for civic technology, located in New York City's Flatiron district. The 18,500 sq. ft. space offers working stations, events, classes, and access to a diverse community of individuals, government agencies, non-profits, start-ups and businesses. Civic Hall offer's a Veterans' Scholarship thanks to the generosity of CraigConnects, founded by CraigsList's founder, Craig Newmark.  Apply today at CivicHall.org.

Legal Services NYC – Veterans Justice Project provides free civil legal services for Veterans, Services Members, and their Family Members. We help: Keep Veterans in their Homes, Keep Military Families Together, and Protect and Secure Income for Veterans. The VJP helps veterans, active duty service members and their families to avoid evictions and foreclosures, combat student loan debt, address family law matters and secure public benefits. If you are a Veteran, Service Member, or Family Member of a Veteran or Service Member, and you need free civil legal assistance, please call our Veterans Justice Project Hotline: 347-592-2409.

Headstrong Project’s mission is to provide cost free, stigma free, and bureaucracy free mental healthcare to Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans. Our model is veteran led and driven. Treatment plans are a collaboration between care providers and the veteran seeking help. Veterans who have successfully completed treatment are part of the team, advising on veteran engagement, acting as peer navigators and advocates, and taking part in long term strategy development. Services are provided at 3 locations in Manhattan, as well as virtually through an established protocol using Google Hangouts. To get involved, veterans can visit our website at getheadstrong.org/get-treated or email [email protected].

Military Resilience Project provides community spaces and experiences where veterans, service members, and their families can interact openly and connect with each other and those around them.  MRP focuses on raising awareness and providing direct services, including identity based workshops, educational seminars, trips to Ground Zero, holistic retreats, and cultural/arts events. To get involved, please sign up by emailing Aynisa Leonardo at [email protected] and visiting our website at www.milresilience.com.

NYC Military Officers Club welcomes current (active duty, reserve, or guard), former, and retired commissioned officers from the seven uniformed services of the United States (USA, USN, USMC, USAF, USCG, NOAA, USPHS) to join its ranks.  The organization is both a social club for officers and the NYC-based chapter of MOAA, the Military Officers Association of America.  Connect with us online at www.nycmoc.org, via twitter @NYCMOC, or at our next club meeting on August 20th, from 7-10pm at the SSMAC Club.

NYCServes is New York City’s first coordinated network of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to serve veterans and their families.   To find out more, log on at nycserves.org or call 1-844-347-9244.

NYU Langone Medical Center – Military Family Clinic provides free individual, couples, and group therapy for military personnel, veterans, and their entire family regardless of discharge status, combat exposure, or era served. Interested individuals can email us at [email protected], visit us online at www.nyulangone.org/militaryfamilyclinic, call our intake line at 855-NYU-4677. For additional information regarding our comprehensive PTSD research study, and how post-9/11 veterans can be compensated for participating, visit: www.nyulangone.org/cohenveteranscenter.

Pathfinder Labs, Inc is a veteran-founded social enterprise that believes getting involved and helping each other is the best way to ease veteran transition. Many veterans know this, but struggle to find the right organizations for them and their families. This online platform will solicit independent veteran reviews of nonprofits to collectively rate organizations and services in their communities. With honest positive feedback as well as suggested improvements, we can keep services and opportunities focused on the actual impact they have on their users. More importantly, we help individuals find the right organizations for their time and energy and allow community members to support each other. This benefits community members, organizations, and donors in building a better path for all. Pathfinder is currently seeking beta testers for the upcoming launch and would love feedback as the site is built. Please register here: www.pathfinder.vet.

Services for the UnderServed, Inc., provides a comprehensive range of services to the veterans community, including housing options, employment, mental health, and suicide prevention.  To find out more, visit us at www.sus.org or call toll-free: 855-787-7555.

Society of Artistic Veterans The SocArtVets mission is to provide education and opportunities for military veterans who are pursuing careers in the arts, by creating, promoting and producing content by veteran artists, creating partnerships with other veteran service organizations, and providing military veterans opportunities to work in a professional artistic environment. Membership is absolutely free, and the process includes submitting a brief bio or resume and proof of your veteran status (DD-214 form or equivalent for non-U.S. veterans). Visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/socartvets to get the latest on events and opportunities, or sign up on our website: societyofartisticveterans.com.

StoryCorps is a nonprofit, oral history and public media organization whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, preserve, and share their stories. StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative is a community engagement program dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of veterans and their families. In doing so, StoryCorps honors veterans' voices, amplifies their experiences, and helps bridge the military-civilian gap through listening.  Visit the StoryCorps website at storycorps.org/military-voices to learn more about the Military Voices Initiative, and ways your organization can get involved.

Team Red, White, and Blue NYC Team Red, White & Blue enriches the lives of America's Veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. The Team RWB NYC chapter organizes athletic and social events across the five boroughs, and invites both veterans and civilians to join. Join the Team: http://teamrwb.org.

Team Rubicon Region 2 Team Rubicon is a national Veteran’s Service Organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders and kick-ass civilians to rapidly deploy disaster response teams.  Through our work we provide our volunteers with a renewed sense of purpose, strong camaraderie, and a connection to the communities we serve.  Region 2 covers New York and New Jersey, and conducts training, service projects, and response operations involving Team Rubicon members in our area. Find out more about how Team Rubicon helps "bridge the gap" between military and civilian life at www.teamrubiconusa.org.

The Soldiers Project is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides free, confidential psychological services to US military veterans and their loved ones who have served since September 11, 2001. Through a network of volunteers The Soldiers Project serves all branches of the military regardless of discharge status, as well as active duty servicemen and women. The Soldiers Project is also dedicated to educating the general public on how the psychological consequences of war affect not only those who serve, but also their loved ones at home and in our communities. To receive free counseling or request more information in NYC, please call: 877-769-7438. For additional information please visit: www.TheSoldiersProject.org.

United War Veterans Council The mission of the United War Veterans Council (UWVC) is to mobilize our communities to honor, support and serve America’s veterans. We are dedicated to ensuring that the public always embraces its commitment to provide all veterans and their families with the care, recognition and opportunities they have rightfully earned. UWVC produces events including the New York City Veterans Day Parade (“America’s Parade”), the largest Veterans Day parade in the U.S. UWVC also carries out and supports a wide range of programs that benefit veterans and their families, to include a recycling program for clothing and household goods. UWVC’s newest initiative is to partner with several organizations to establish the NYC Veterans Business Hub. Learn more and get involved at www.uwvc.org.

Urban Justice Center – Veteran Advocacy Project provides free civil legal services to low-income veterans, with a focus on those living with Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and substance use problems. We ensure access to housing, health care, and income, so that veterans can focus on rebuilding their lives. For more information, go to:  veteranadvocacyproject.org. For assistance, please email [email protected] or call 646-602-5620.

Veteran Artist Program was founded in 2009 to foster, encourage and promote veterans in the arts. VAP has worked with over 1,000 veteran artists and conducted over 50 original productions in 15 States. The new VAP Podcast, hosted by founder BR McDonald, hit #1 in iTunes Performing Arts and can be found at vappodcast.com.

VEThack March to End Veteran Suicide Join VEThack at Columbus Circle on October 11th for the 2015 March to End Veteran Suicide, along with GoRuck, Bob Woodruff Foundation, Team RWB, Team Rubicon, Mission Continues, Veterans on Wall Street, and others. The march will proceed through the Upper West Side to bring awareness to veteran suicide and call for an end to the crisis. For more information and to register, visit the event website at vethack.eventzilla.net.

Vetted is a scripted, dramatic comedy, written and directed by Paul D. Mooney, USMC, that follows a group of veterans through the relatable day-to-day, breaking through the stereotype of the “broken veteran” and reminding us that most of the time they are just trying to get through the day like anyone else. It takes a fresh and necessary look at veteran transition, using a combination of truth and experience, drama, and humor to create a show the likes of which have never been seen on television. You can follow on Twitter at twitter.com/VettedTV and Facebook at facebook.com/pages/Vetted-TV/1570904076508155, and view the pilot on YouTube bit.ly/vettedtvchannel.

Voices From War offers craft-focused writing workshops for veterans and related literary programming, broadening opportunities for diverse dialogue, publication, community and events. We value inter-generational participation and veteran-civilian conversation, looking to literature for both commonalities and expressions of difference—finding greater clarity and deepening understanding through writing. You can find additional details about our workshops, and other ways to get involved, on our website: VoicesFromWar.org.

Words After War is a nonprofit literary organization bringing veterans and civilians together to examine war and conflict through the lens of literature. Please learn more and support our mission by visiting wordsafterwar.org.