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Providing a Clear Path to Veterans in Need During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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At the start of 2020, no one could have foreseen the impacts from the COVID-19 Pandemic and how it would affect our Veterans. Since March of this year, Clear Path for Veterans New England (CP4VNE) has adapted to the situation and carried on in our mission to serve our Service Members, Veterans, and their families.

CP4VNE has been the clear choice for Veterans of all eras looking for supportive service assistance or wellness programming during this time. Our Team at CP4VNE provides a clear sense of security and wellbeing during this time through the immediate mobilization of community partnerships and teamwork. Our partner Massachusetts Military Support Foundation was our main ally in the Food4Vets food box distribution, with our team providing the means to distribute thousands of boxes and data management for this joint mission.

Since March 2020 CP4VNE has distributed nearly 11,000 food boxes to 2,269 Veterans and family members across New England including Merrimack Valley, Essex, Worcester, Middlesex, Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties. We have provided housing opportunities with Chelmsford Housing Authority (Shirley Meadows Project), employment services, canine service dog training, and recreational activities while maintaining COVID 19 guidance and compliance. 

CP4VNE plans a variety of “Warrior Reset” monthly activities providing opportunities to relieve stress, learn new skills, and develop new friendships. 

cppne2Last month, we hosted 10 Veterans on two fishing trips on the boat “Fair Warning” leaving from New Castle, New Hampshire. On both trips we had great weather. The day at sea alone provided an opportunity to alleviate stress during these uncertain times. On our first trip to sea, the team had the experience of a lifetime – reeling in a Tuna! The excitement of working together as a team to reel in the special catch provided an unforgettable experience. Our second trip was not as fruitful – the fish just were not biting but the time at sea provided a much-needed respite from the day-to-day.

Every month CP4VNE partners with Old Glory Millworks to host a flag building workshop with Lance Perkins in Templeton. The highly rated all day workshop provides four Veterans the chance to escape their routines and create a work of art that they can proudly display. 

One of the key benefits of woodworking is the enhancement of self-esteem. Participants are in charge; they decide the outcome. The day requires intense focus and precision work. When it all comes together there is great pride and joint praise for a job well done.  

The day ends with a group photo that captures four new friends with smiles all around. Brandon Bregel, CP4VNE’s Peer-to-Peer lead participates in each workshop. Despite the challenges this year, Lance and Brandon have hosted 20 Veterans, and each have created their own unique Old Glory.

If you are interested in learning how you can sponsor a workshop, please contact bbregel@clearpathne.org. If you are interested in learning more about our organization contact us at info@clearpathne.org. As a non-profit, we are always seeking donations both monetary and in-kind to help assist us in sustaining and creating future opportunities for program development. To make a donation visit us at HERE! ◊

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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