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Community Support Enables Easter Seals NH's Veterans Count Club to Distribute $1.1 Million in Emergency Funding to Military Families

Hundreds of service members helped throughout five years of fundraising

Since 9/11 thousands of New Hampshire service members from the Army and Air National Guard, the Army, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard Reserve components, and regular military units have deployed to the Middle East. Many of them deployed in the past year for the second, third, or even fourth time. And some are already gearing up for another deployment. These men and women - and their families - make huge sacrifices on behalf of all Americans.

To assist service members and their families through the challenges of the deployment cycle, Easter Seals NH launched the Veterans Count Club five years ago in 2007 to serve as the fundraising arm of the Deployment Cycle Support Program which is a partnership between Easter Seals NH, the NH National Guard and the NH Department of Health and Human Service.

After five years of fundraising, generous donations from hundreds of businesses and private citizens have resulted in the Easter Seals NH Veterans Count Club’s ability to distribute $1.1 million to veterans and their families in need of emergency services.
“Veterans Count Club exists because philanthropist and Easter Seals Board Member Michael Salter had a vision to help our veterans. The community embraced the vision with their time and financial assistance and the results speak for themselves,” said Veterans Count Club Chairman R. Bruce Wilson. “The club has addressed a gap that New Hampshire service members and their families needed and deserved to be filled.  That need is not diminishing in the near future. We continue to deploy reserve and guard personnel and medical issues exist long after deployment concludes.”

The Easter Seals NH Veterans Count Club is a membership organization in which dues and other contributions provide direct financial support to military families that may include, but is not limited to: transportation, housing, rent, fuel assistance, utilities, vehicle repair, gasoline, food, child care, tuition and medical. Professional Care Coordinators currently manage more than 1,200 individual cases and since 2007, more than 1,800 families have been served.

“We are grateful to the people and companies of New Hampshire who have joined us in the critical effort of supporting our military families,” said Easter Seals NH President and CEO Larry Gammon. “These men and women are local heroes, and through the Veterans Count Club we can help those people who have unselfishly helped all of us. We are proud to serve and support them.”

To that end, nearly 100 Care Coordinators around the state work to identify the unique needs of each individual service member and family. In addition to financial support, services may include facilitating mental health counseling for veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, marriage counseling and working with school guidance counselors to arrange for support for children of military families. The goal is to help each individual attain self-sufficiency.

“We have learned that many of the problems military families face can be prevented or lessened if they had access to clinical and case management support PRIOR to deployment. Our Care Coordinators begin working with the entire family 6-9 months pre-deployment, throughout a 12 month deployment and up to 18 months after a veteran returns home,” explained Gammon. “Our Care Coordinators provide one-stop support to service members and their families engaged in the deployment cycle.”

Several years ago, in a continuing effort to support military families, Easter Seals launched the Veterans Count Club Provider Program which encourages any individual, business or organization to provide $300 or more in needed services and/or products through any combination of in-kind contributions, discounts and/or monetary gifts for a period of one year.

The Veterans Count Club will hold a fundraising breakfast on Thursday, May 10, at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. There is no charge for the breakfast but we hope attendees will be inspired by first-hand stories from military families to become a club member. Individual membership starts at $150 and corporate/business memberships start at $1,500.

If you are interested in joining the club or attending the breakfast, and providing help to a veteran and/or their family in need of emergency services through an individual or corporate VCC membership, please contact Easter Seals Vice President of Major Gifts and Planned Giving Linda Sirak at 603.621.3456 or lsirak@eastersealsnh.org. Or, you may donate online at www.eastersealsnh.org.

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