2003-05-02 / Community

Sanders: Returning Vets Need Help

By Brian Magoolaghan
Sanders: Returning Vets Need Help By Brian Magoolaghan


City Councilman Sanders speaks to the gathering of veterans and their families.City Councilman Sanders speaks to the gathering of veterans and their families.

When the men and women serving in the Gulf region return, they will be celebrated—then many of them will be forgotten and left to map out their future on their own, said City Councilman James Sanders, Jr.

"Not everyone comes back whole," Sanders said adding, "There’s enough of us (Sanders served in the Marine Corp) who get lost in the cracks."

Representatives for various veterans’ affairs groups spoke—and shared a common message: vets should join a group for support and to find out about the benefits that they qualify for.

One of the most outspoken on the subject of benefits was the New York City Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs Director Michael J. Handy. He said there are some very restrictive qualifications, which could prohibit many from receiving benefits. Sanders expressed an additional concern over proposed cuts to veterans’ affairs programs.


U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Em­ployment and Training Service Assistant Director Daniel A. Fried­man who distributed a guide focusing on the Uniformed Services Em­ployment and Re­em­ploy­ment Act.U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Em­ployment and Training Service Assistant Director Daniel A. Fried­man who distributed a guide focusing on the Uniformed Services Em­ployment and Re­em­ploy­ment Act.

The meeting was held last week at St. Mary’s Magdalene Church, Springfield Gardens.


Lester Muse from New York State Senator Malcolm Smith’s Office shares some information with the audience. That’s a Purple Heart Medal on his left shoulder.Lester Muse from New York State Senator Malcolm Smith’s Office shares some information with the audience. That’s a Purple Heart Medal on his left shoulder.Sanders listens, left, as Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs Director Michael J. Handy discusses the in-and-out of benefits.Sanders listens, left, as Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs Director Michael J. Handy discusses the in-and-out of benefits.

Captain Bill LaMariana, a veterans’ services volunteer sits in the audience. He later urged the audience to become vet assistance volunteers.Captain Bill LaMariana, a veterans’ services volunteer sits in the audience. He later urged the audience to become vet assistance volunteers.An audience of attentive veterans, family, and representatives listens in the church’s community room.An audience of attentive veterans, family, and representatives listens in the church’s community room.

Guest speakers and audience members pose for a quick shot at the end of the open meeting.Guest speakers and audience members pose for a quick shot at the end of the open meeting.

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