Million-dollar grant would help returning soldiers

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(Host) The Vermont National Guard and the Veteran’s Administration hope to get a one-million-dollar grant to help soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders secured the funding as part of this year’s Defense Department appropriation. The money is included in the House version of the bill, and Sanders says it’s likely to pass the Senate.

Sanders says the country has learned a lesson from the Vietnam War, when the combat-stress related problems of many returning veterans were overlooked or ignored.

(Sanders) “The truth is that in Vietnam we did not understand that, and we are understanding it right now. And we owe it to the men and women who are serving abroad under those type of stress is that when we come home, we will not forget about you. We will be there to do everything that we can do to reintegrate you into the communities in every way we can do it.”

(Host) Major General Michael Dubie commands the Vermont National Guard. He says the Guard is committed to taking care of soldiers and their families when they return from the war zone.

(Dubie) “What I’ve said over and over again, it’s not the money. The money is important. But it’s the message. And the message is that people care about our soldiers and our airmen and their families. And that I think helps in the healing process if it needs to be done.”

(Host) The one-million-dollar grant will strengthen outreach services that already exist. Dubie and Sanders said the outreach effort will include visits to soldiers in order to contact veterans who may be reluctant to come to a VA clinic for counseling.

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