Resource fair puts veterans front and center

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By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media

Local organizations shared resources available to veterans during a fair hosted by state Sen. Michelle Hinchey,
D-46, and Cairo’s American Legion Post 983.

CAIRO — A resource fair held at the Cairo Public Library put the interests of area veterans front and center.

The event, held Nov. 16, was hosted by state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-46. The senator was unable to attend as she was quarantining at the time after receiving a positive COVID-19 test.

“The senator is very sad to miss this, but unfortunately she is still home quarantining,” Hinchey’s chief of staff, Leah Goldman, said.

Hinchey reached out to American Legion Post 983 Commander Mike Adrian to put the resource fair together to make veterans aware of the programs and benefits that are available to them.

“Sen. Hinchey approached me and said she wanted to have a resource fair so we jumped on board,” Adrian said. “This is all
about veterans, veterans’ benefits and resources they are allowed. It’s a nice program that Sen. Hinchey started.”

Representatives were on hand from a variety of organizations, from Columbia-Greene Community College to utility company
Central Hudson, Blue Star Mothers of Greene County, Albany Stratton VA Hospital, a therapeutic riding center, an agency that helps homeless veterans, and assistance with finding employment, among others.

The Veterans Resource Fair shared a wealth of information about programs
and services available to those who have served.

A representative from U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, handed out a resource guide with information on federal and other benefits and services available to veterans.

Greene County Sheriff Peter Kusmisky said the fair was a valuable resource for local veterans.

“I am glad veterans are here today to avail themselves of services that are available in the community,” Kusminsky said. “It’s great to see them out here.”

Blue Star Mothers First Vice President Karen Dudley said her group’s mission is to help veterans in any way they can.
“Blue Star Mothers is an organization that likes to fill the gaps in what veterans need,” Dudley said. “We have reached out to our veterans at the local nursing homes — we just replaced the flags for them — and we send them cards, we send packages overseas, wherever we can help. We go ‘mom’ on whoever needs it.”

Veteran Chris Algozzine from American Legion Post 983 in Cairo shared ways the Legion can help those who have served.

“It’s important to be a member of the American Legion so that you can interact with people who have served, understand what is happening to you and your family as veterans, and to find out all the programs that are available to you and get help if you need it with any of those programs,” Algozzine said. “It’s a great way for veterans to get together and help each other out.”

Greene County Legislator Harry Lennon, D-Cairo, attended the resource fair and said it provided an important service for veterans.

“I am hoping veterans come not only from Cairo, but from all over Greene County to take advantage of this,” Lennon said. “I hope we can build on this in the years to come. This is the first time it has been done in Cairo and everybody did a wonderful job putting this together — I hope we can continue it and make it bigger for all of the veterans of Greene County and for all
they have sacrificed for this country. We can’t thank them enough.”

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