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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2009

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES FINAL CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF $779,200 FOR HUNTINGTON COMMUNITY VETERANS CENTER AT SOUNDVIEW BEACH - FACILITY WILL BE MANAGED BY VETERANS, FOR VETERANS

Funding Included at Senator's Request; Project Will Serve As A Model For How A Community Can Honor Armed Forces Schumer: Men and Women Who Risk Their Lives In Service to the Nation Deserve the Best Possible Care

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced final Congressional passage of $779,200 to create the Huntington Community Veterans Center at Soundview Beach on Long Island. The new Veterans Community Center will be managed by veterans, for veterans, closing the loop on the care-giving and socialization processes that are key to improved mental and physical health.  The setting itself will be therapeutic, nestled into a wooded hillside with sweeping views of the Long Island Sound.  The managing organization will oversee programs that meet the needs of the veterans.  It will maintain records of the number of visitors, their activities and times spent and solicit input on how to improve the quality of recreational and social services.  The project should serve as a model for how a community can embrace, honor and show gratitude for the significant sacrifices of its armed forces.

“This new Community Veterans Center will be able to provide veterans with an outstanding facility to give them the care they need,” Schumer said. “Veterans represent the best of Long Island and the country, and they are owed the finest facilities available. I am proud I worked so hard to get this money for the Huntington Community Veterans Center at Soundview Beach, and I am sure the facility will be outstanding.”

Huntington has several very active veterans groups. One such group is the American Legion Post in Northport, whose 450 members have served in every U.S. military engagement dating from World War II to the current conflict in Iraq. Started by Korean War Veterans, the current legion facility is now over fifty years old and fails to meet current ADA standards.  Furthermore, the structure cannot be retrofitted to suit the needs of the members and conform to Federal law. Other veterans groups throughout the Town are experiencing the same types of problems with their facilities. The planned Veterans Community Center will be fully ADA-compliant.

In addition to its service organization functions, the Center will be a therapeutic and recreational node for veterans being transported from the local Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) where day services will be provided improving the lifestyle for veterans residing at the VAMC who rely on federal programs for care and services.  This state of the art Veterans Center will broaden the horizons for these patients and increase their opportunity for social contact with the community. The VAMC provides daily medical care for outpatients, continuing and extended care, mental health care, geriatric care and other medical services. This facility will also offer regional support programs, educational opportunities and offering programs such as water logging to clam and oyster cultivation.

This is a forward-looking project.  Men and women now serving in the armed forces will one day be veterans and it is important to plan for their future care and needs.  The Center will provide a fitting venue where those who have served our country can come together. In short, the Center will assist them in their return to civilian life, leading healthier lives in surrounding at offer a fitting recognition of our respect for them.

The Center can serve as an emergency communications and staging center for Coast Guard operations, Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Department of Parks, Town of Huntington Department of Public Safety and local fire departments and provide sanitary facilities to those using the adjacent community soccer complex and community boat launch ramp, which currently have insufficient access for the level of public use.

The appropriations bill will now head to President Obama for his signature.

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