Queens has the most veterans of any borough in New York City.
In the school cafeteria, a variety of organizations that offer programs for veterans set up informational tables, including LaGuardia Community College Veterans Upward Bound, Women Veterans Network and Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Greater Ridgewood and Glendale.
“We can never thank our veterans enough for all the sacrifices they’ve made for our nation, and we must do all we can to ensure that they have access to the befits and services that they require,” said Meng. “But a lot of Queens veterans are unsure how to access those resources, and many are unaware that they even exist.”
Meng also told the audience of veterans about a bill that she has introduced to speed up the backlog of veteran disability claims.
“The first five minutes that I’ve been here I have already met so many soldiers that have come from serving our country and protecting our democracy day to day, and they’re telling me that their claims are taking to long,” said Meng.
The American Veterans for Equal Rights, who advocate on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender veterans, also participated in the event. Public relations officer Denny Meyer said that coming out to community events are important.
“It’s all about visibility,” said Meyer. “There are gay veterans everywhere. There are 1.4 million living gay and lesbian veterans and a lot of them, particularly in the boroughs, are very isolated.”
Edward Perry of the U.S. Veterans Administration also discussed the various benefits that veterans are able to access, what documents are important to save and how to contact different groups in order to receive these services.
“There are many services out there, but the connection doesn’t happen as often as we would like,” said Crowley. “When they come home, their service can never be forgotten, and they deserve the best health care, education and employment opportunity our country and city have to offer.”