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November 11th, 2008

NYS Council On Returning Veterans And Their Families



Governor Paterson commemorating Veterans' Day in his address at reopening ceremony of the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.
Governor David A. Paterson today signed an Executive Order establishing the New York State Council on Returning Veterans and Their Families. The Council will develop recommendations for a comprehensive strategy to address the multiple needs of returning veterans and their families in adjusting to post-service life through a collaboration of federal, state and local benefits.

The eight-member Council will be chaired by the Director of the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Col. (ret.) James McDonough and will include representatives of six New York State agencies including the DVA, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health, the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and the Division of Military and Naval Affairs. The remaining two members will include a veteran or family member of a veteran, and a representative of local government. The Council will also be assisted by an advisory body of other stakeholders convened by the Chair.

The Governor announced the Executive Order on the flight deck of the USS Intrepid to an audience of 2,500 veterans during a ceremony to celebrate the grand reopening of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

“Not just on Veterans’ Day, but whenever we gather with family or friends, whenever we pause to honor our country, whenever we enjoy the pleasures of freedom, we should remember the men and women whose sacrifices made it possible: our service members, our veterans and our fallen heroes,” said Governor Paterson. “We must always ensure that we welcome our veterans home with care, compassion and assistance in recognition of their tremendous service to our country.”

The concept of the Council was developed at the National Behavioral Health Conference and Policy Academy on Returning Veterans and Their Families, a public-private collaborative aimed at improving services for returning veterans. New York was one of nine states and one territory invited to participate in the Academy held in Maryland this past August.

Colonel (Ret.) James McDonough, Director of DVA, said: “Governor Paterson’s Executive Order creating this Council ensures that New York’s veterans and their families receive the highest degree of attention within his administration. I am confident that by working together we can better meet their needs during these very difficult times.”

The New York State Council on Returning Veterans and Their Families will issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor by September 30, 2009.

Governor Paterson also announced that the commissioning date of the USS New York – which is built with approximately 7.5 tons of steels from the ruins of the World Trade Center – has been set for November 7, 2009, in New York harbor. The USS New York was christened on March 1, 2008, at Northrop Grumman’s Avondale shipyard in New Orleans, where it is being completed prior to undergoing sea trials. The USS New York will have a crew of nearly 360 sailors and will be capable of transporting 700 combat-ready Marines.

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