Veterans Outreach Center

Rochester’s Veterans Outreach Center has hired new staff and is stepping up its efforts to prevent suicides, executive director Laura Stradley said.

The center will find ways to connect veterans to a variety of health care and career services, even if they show no immediate signs of mental distress, said Stradley.

Some veterans end up disconnected from local or federal agencies, like the Department of Veterans Affairs, that are designed to support them, Stradley said.

Local writer Jeff Spevak has a new book out. It's called "22 Minutes" and it tells the story of Ernie Coleman, a sailor, carpenter, and Navy veteran who survived the worst defeat in U.S. Navy history. Spevak calls him a common man who lived through uncommon circumstances. 

We sit down with Spevak to discuss how he told Coleman's story when Coleman himself refused to talk about the tragedy that haunted him. We also discuss the trauma many veterans, like Coleman, face.

With an average of 20 veterans dying by suicide each day in the U.S., Congressman Joe Morelle said Wednesday that he’s introducing legislation to make sure the Veterans Administration helps prevent more deaths.

Morelle said the VA received $6.2 million in the 2018 fiscal year to promote its suicide prevention services for veterans. It spent less than a third of that money, he said.

“To only have less than a third of that money spent when 7,000 vets are dying every year is reprehensible,” said Morelle.

James Brown WXXI

The Veterans Outreach Center is expanding in downtown Rochester. The local nonprofit broke ground Friday on Liberty Landing, a $10.4 million project.

The project will offer affordable housing units to 33 veterans and their families at Scio Street and University Avenue.

Veterans Outreach Center Executive Director Laura Stradley said this is Monroe County’s first supportive housing complex for veterans.

Emily Hunt / for WXXI News

Ken Moore served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, after being drafted in 1965. Like a lot of Vietnam veterans, he went through some tough times overseas, memories that stayed with him throughout his life.

But that didn’t stop him from wanting to help his fellow vets. When he retired from a 30-year career at Kodak, he worked for Monroe County in the Veterans Service Agency for a time. Laura Stradley used to head up that agency, now she is executive director of the Veterans Outreach Center where Moore was also active.

The remaining members of a group of local World War II veterans gathered for a final ceremony to remember their experiences and those of their fellow veterans of the armed forces.

Jack Foy is one of the few remaining members the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.

The group was formed over 20 years ago, he says.

“Started out with 99 guys, now I’m down to four -- and one of those guys is in hospice right now. It’s just nature taking its toll.”

John Riedy Photography

A Fairport man got a shout-out from President Trump during ceremonies held in France on Sunday to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.

Pete DuPre, the 94 year old veteran of WWII who often plays his harmonica at major military memorials as well as other events, went to France this past week as part of a trip with The Greatest Generations Foundation.

Lindsay France/Cornell University

On this Veterans Day, a local veteran is reflecting on his long, difficult journey back to civilian life and the ultimate success he found thanks to a program in Mendon.

Nathan Bush of Honeoeye Falls served in the Air Force for ten years. He was never deployed in a combat zone, but did sustain severe injuries in his service as a vehicle operator.

Staff sergeant Bush had compression fractures in his spine, a collapsed lung, and a severe immune reaction to vaccinations he had received.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

This is the 100th anniversary of what has also been called Armistice Day, a day that was originally established to mark the end of World War I.

But of course that remembrance has now become a day to honor all veterans and that’s what they were doing at the War Memorial at the Blue Cross Arena on Sunday in a ceremony organized by the Monroe County American Legion.

World War I tribute hosted in Rochester

Nov 11, 2018
Gates Keystone Club Police Pipes and Drums

Early Sunday morning, The Gates Keystone Club Police Pipes and Drums hosted a World War I tribute.

The "Battles Over" ceremony began at 5:45 am in conjunction with bagpipes around the world, playing "When the Battles Over" in salute to all those who served in this conflict. It was put together by the National Piping Center in Scotland.

An armistice to end the war was signed 100 years ago today at 6:00 am.

President of the club David Rizzo says the band is made up of mostly active or retired police, fire and EMS personnel