Rupert Veteran Comes Up with Ideas to Combat Loneliness at VVH
When Garry DuFour of North Rupert was told last year by Colonel Al Faxon of the Vermont Veterans’ Home (VVH) in Bennington that some residents – veterans who were disabled during wars and conflicts – had no visitors and received no mail, he was shocked. Since then, he’s come up with some ideas. His first was to invite others to adopt a veteran by visiting several times a year, sending cards and notes, and checking in by phone; the second idea is for folks who must perform court-ordered community service as a first time offender; they can choose to spend a couple of hours at the Veterans’ Home interacting with a veteran. And with 137 residents at the Home, there are plenty to visit with.
DuFour obtained the permission to go ahead with the community project through the Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage, Kim Phillips of the Center for Restorative Justice, and the Vermont Veterans’ Home. Marthage said, “I hope that we can encourage more people to become involved with things
that are happening at the Vets’ Home, because there really are a bunch of great people here who have fought for our country.” Phillips added that participants through the Center of Restorative Justice would be carefully chosen and fully vetted. “It’s not about what they did,” she added. “We want people to see that they can do good things as well.”
Anyone who wants to participate in the program to adopt a vet can contact VVH or stop by, according to VVH Faxon and CEO Melissa Jackson. There is an application to fill out and a background check to be conducted.
The two programs were announced at VVH on July 11, when DuFour stated, “Loneliness and pain of the heart can take you into the darkest places. We all need more understanding and realization about [the] veterans who suffer in silence; please visit [them].”
The event was recorded by GNAT-TV; also in attendance were Representatives Cynthia Browning, Mary Morrissey and Chris Bates.