Thursday, 24 January 2013 13:11

A Voice For Veterans: An Introduction

By Jackie Kingsland | News

SARATOGA COUNTY - Military men and women. Veterans. Whether reserves, active military, retired after a life-long career, wounded in action, enlisted, non-commissioned officer or officer; they are dedicated individuals who serve their country.

They are soldiers—some experiencing multiple deployments to countries with mountainous terrain and unbearable heat; where body armor replaces LL Bean; weapons are essential and the continuous threat of violence becomes a way of life. Their strides are with discipline, their actions are with honor. They are our veterans. The wars overseas may be ending but the battles in the hearts and minds of the troops will continue.

Isn't it time to honor the sacrifices they’ve made by building strong collaborations and raising community awareness to area programs and support services? Or something as simple as sharing a comrade’s story or inform residents of returning soldiers and fundraising events?

Welcome to the publication portal for the community; Saratoga Springs’ contributing voice for veterans.

There are many Saratoga area military groups, area employers, non-profit organizations and community agencies willing to offer veterans services and assistance as a token of appreciation. For example, Empire State College, situated right here in Saratoga Springs, offers numerous services, tuition assistance and college credits for military training as part of their commitment to veterans and military students. The college truly cares for our service men and women and demonstrates their dedication by staffing veterans, providing on-site counselors, forming a Student Veteran and Military Club, as well as advising, advocating and raising awareness for students. The services also apply to spouses, Department of Defense (DOD) employees and troops to teachers. If you visit their website (www.esc.edu/military or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,) you can obtain a wealth of useful information to support veterans.

Saratoga Springs County Supervisor Joanne Yepsen is very involved with the community veteran services and works diligently to honor our veterans and assure that Saratoga County continues offering assistance and programs. For instance, the Honoring our Deceased Veterans program is a county initiative that remembers the sacrifices veterans have made by holding a ceremony the Board of Supervisors Chambers located at 40 McMaster Street in Ballston Spa.

Each month, a deceased veteran from a different municipality is honored. Supervisor Yepsen is also doing her part to honor those who have served or are in between deployments and are reintegrating back to civilian life. Yepsen, who is a founder of the Guardian House for Homeless Women Veterans and an original committee and founder of the Coalition of Women Veterans of New York State, recognizes the importance in working collaboratively with other organizations like Patriot Hills through public and private partnerships to better serve the needs of reintegration, healing, educational and vocational opportunities for our veterans and their families in our region.

Patriot Hills of New York, Inc. is a nonprofit organization with a large presence here in Saratoga County. Established and founded by retired Master Sergeant Jeannine Mannarino, it is comprised of volunteers, both military and civilian, who work together to provide programs and services for veterans during their transition, reintegration and healing as they return home. Patriot Hills also addresses critical veterans’ issues such as eliminating homelessness, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) education and recovery, employment workshops and training, teaching interview and follow up techniques for veteran job seekers and organizing family support programs.

One of the collaborative partnerships Patriot Hills has formed in Saratoga County includes the New York State Military Museum. Patriot Hills co-sponsored their first and second annual symposiums for the Coalition for Women Veterans of New York, in conjunction with Empire and Excelsior College, who offers tuition assistance to veterans and their families and a local VFW where they will begin to provide resources and programs, conduct workshops and offer an environment for veterans and families to surround themselves with other comrades within their community. For viewing more information about this organization, visit their website at: www.patriothills.org.

If you need assistance filing claims with US Department of Veteran Affairs for veteran disability compensation, education, health care eligibility, or a VA loan certification or for transporting veterans in Saratoga County to the VA Medical Center or the VA Homeless Outreach of the VA Veterans Center in Albany, the Saratoga County Veteran Service Agency’s mission is to “…assist veterans and their families with securing earned benefits and services through quality customer service and advocacy.”

The veteran service agency can be reached for claims by appointment only Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.– 4 p.m. by calling (518) 884-4290 or for after hours van transportation (518) 742-0863 or visit www.saratogacountyny.gov for further details.

It’s only a short distance to Greenwich in Washington County, where you’ll find a large facility surrounded by rolling acres and mountainous views. This is where Christ the King Spiritual Life Center is located. The Center is hosting, for the first time, a Welcome Home Initiative for Military Women Only. This event takes place January 27–29, 2013, to help those suffering with physical, psychological or spiritual trauma from combat. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information about the event.

This is a very small sample of the many programs, resources and conversations we will be having each month here in Saratoga TODAY, providing a Voice for Veterans.

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