Over 500 Corvettes Pay Tribute to Bedford VA’s Veterans

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

The Oval at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA) was filled to capacity with more than 575 Corvettes from across New England,  the country and Canada during the 12th annual Vettes to Vets rally. The event began with an impressive parade that stretched from Billerica to the Bedford VA, where hundreds of Corvettes parked in formation on the hospital grounds. The Dan Lawson Band provided live music as members of the Air Force Association served hot dogs and hamburgers.  Special acknowledgment and gratitude was expressed to the Gold Star Mothers in attendance at the event, which was held on Sunday, September 27th, Gold Star Mother’s Day. Veterans enjoyed casting their ballots for the “Veterans Choice” trophy which was awarded to Stan Baukus and his 1954 orange full custom Corvette. Visitors to Bedford VA had the opportunity enjoy the Corvettes and learn more about the services Bedford VA offers to our Veterans.

12th Annual ‘Vettes to Vets Honors Veterans at Bedford VA on Sunday, September 27

Robert Cook,  Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

When a caravan of Corvettes makes their way to the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA) on Sept. 27, their owners will come together for an amazing day of camaraderie, music, food and fun to support our Veterans. Karen Blandini, the chairperson ofVettes to Vets, said what was once an event that attracted 25 Corvette owners 12 years ago, has grown into a massive Corvette rally with drivers from all over New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Canada. She said the event had 537 Corvettes in 2014, including her 2011 Grand Sport Convertible Corvette. “Not all of them are Veterans, but they all come to support our Veterans,” said Blandini.

Lowell/Bedford VA Stand Down Goes the Distance to End Veteran Homelessness

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

The City of Lowell, the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in Haverhill and the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)  partnered to co-host Stand Down 2015, an event that provides supplies and services to homeless Veterans.  “Stand Downs” are collaborative events held nationally, coordinated between the VA and community-based homeless service providers. Some 300 Veterans attended the Lowell Stand Down which began with a ceremony on the steps of  the Lowell Memorial Auditorium with the U. Mass ROTC Color Guard and the Lowell High School Singers’ rendition of the National Anthem. Click each image below to see it at its full width

Mayor Rodney Elliot introduced dignitaries and commended the Bedford VA, city officials and the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center for hosting the Stand Down in Lowell, and encouraged the nation to make Veterans the highest priority. “We should want to serve our Veterans after they have done so much for us,” Elliot said. Elliot noted that great strides have been made to end Veteran homelessness in Lowell and in the nation and called for even more to be done.

Bedford VA’s VITAL Program Helps Student Veterans Succeed and Lead

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Bedford VA

Bedford VA’s Veterans Integrations to Academic Leadership (VITAL) program is addressing Veterans’ needs for specialized support at several Massachusetts colleges and universities, including Middlesex Community College. For Veterans who have left the battlefield and entered the classroom, college can be an especially stressful time adjusting to new routines, class schedules and new environments. Without proper resources and support, dealing with issues like reintegration, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression can cause student Veterans to drop out of school at a much higher rate than other students. VITAL is a national VA health initiative helping returning Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans transition to and succeed in college. The program also serves Persian Gulf War and Vietnam War-era Veterans and is available to all Veterans.

Bedford VA Veterans Win Medals and Ribbons at National Veterans Golden Age Games

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Bedford VAMC

Three Veterans from the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA) won multiple gold medals and ribbons at the National Veterans Golden Age Games this month. Congratulations to all of our Golden Age Games Veterans! The National Veterans Golden Age Games is the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States, and the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.  The games are also the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and personal investment in physical fitness and wellness. The VA challenges and encourages senior Veterans to be proactive in embracing a healthier lifestyle.

4th Annual Veteran’s Day at the Woburn Sportsmen’s Association

Submitted by Dick Milewski for the Woburn Sportsmen’s Association

A group of veterans from the Edith Nourse Rogers Medical Center (Bedford VAMC) visited  the Woburn Sportsmen’s Association on Saturday, August 22nd. Club volunteers assisted them in trying their hand at archery, shooting muzzle loaders and cowboy single-action revolvers, and finally shooting clay targets at the trap range.  The attending Veterans tried all events, and really had a good time with them. The club also prepared a cookout for the participants, which everyone enjoyed.  WSA wants to acknowledge the generous donations of meat and produce made by Whole Foods Market of Bedford, and Wilson Farm of Lexington. The Woburn Sportsmen’s Association is located on Middlesex Turnpike in Bedford.

Volunteers Rewarded with Veterans’ Smiles and Gratitude at Bedford VA

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

Bob Martin, Sue Gilbert-Sexton and Miriam Daley are just three of the hundreds of volunteers who make a positive difference in the lives of Veterans at the Bedford VA Medical Center every day. Their reward is knowing they bring joy to those who have served, and that they are making a difference in Veterans’ lives. Sue Gilbert Sexton

Sue Gilbert-Sexton said she became a volunteer when her father was an outpatient at the Bedford VA in 2008. After seeing how much she could offer the Veterans, she began volunteering 10 hours per week. After her father, a Marine Veteran, passed away in 2010, she continued to volunteer with the BINGO games on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Bedford’s Dr. Dan Berlowitz Receives the VA’s Highest Honor for Health Researchers

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

Dr. Dan Berlowitz never stops thinking of ways he can improve the overall health of Veterans here at the Bedford VA Medical Center as well as VA system wide. His curiosity, combined with his dedication to this goal, recently resulted in his being awarded the 2015 Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research at a ceremony in Philadelphia. The Under Secretary’s Award is the highest honor a VA health services researcher may receive. Dr. Berlowitz, who has served as the Bedford VA’s Acting Chief of Staff for the past three years, is modest about this recognition. But he is also proud of the research he has undertaken that has improved Veterans health care.

Bedford VA to Host Free Ricky Lee “Music-4-R-Vets” Concert on Saturday, August 8

Submitted by Robert Cook, Public Affairs, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA)

Country music star Ricky Lee will bring his Music-4-R-Vets show to the Bedford VA campus on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 1:30 p.m. as part of his ongoing efforts to show Veterans the healing power of music. The show will be open to all Veterans and the public. The outdoor concert will be held at the Oval, (follow event signs), of the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA). Lee has been playing at VA hospitals, American Legion Halls and Veterans of Foreign War posts nationwide for the past several months.

CEDAC Partners with VA To Fund “Bedford Green” Supportive Housing for Homeless Veterans

By Lee Vorderer

The Massachusetts Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) will administer funds from the state’s Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund (HPSTF), joining funding through Veterans’ Administration (VA) to pay for Bedford Green, a new project on the grounds of the Edith Nourse Rogers Veteran’s Medical Center in Bedford (Bedford VAMC). “We’re tremendously proud to be taking a lead role in the development of the Bedford Green Apartments, which will provide not just housing, but a supportive environment and services for a critically underserved community,” said Roger Herzog, CEDAC’s Executive Director.  “This development will put us one step closer to the goal established by both the state and federal governments that no veteran will be without housing and services.”

Multiple state local, and federal agencies are partnering to develop Bedford Green, , which is estimated to cost $20 million, began at the end of March and is expected to be completed by April 2016.  Upon completion, the project is intended to house nearly 69 veterans and provide dozens more with supportive services. The building will meet LEED gold environmental standards, and it will provide permanent, supportive housing for 69 homeless veterans. Supportive services from the VA Medical Center will include on site case workers who will connect these veterans to the full range of physical and mental health services offered at the VA, an onsite peer counselor who will be available to offer guidance and support, and an on-site van and driver to help veterans connect to the many opportunities that the Town of Bedford offers. In addition to housing, Bedford Green will provide supportive services to dozens of additional veterans through its connections to the Bedford VAMC.