The Lyndon State College Veterans Club, in partnership with the LSC Veteran Student Support Committee and other Veteran service organizations, are hosting the NEK Veterans Summit to bring veterans, their families, and service organizations together to build relationships, strengthen connections, and enhance the regional support network.
Lyndon State College is a proud member of the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Join us for this day long event.
- Break Out Sessions
- Student Veteran Panel
- Guest Speakers
- Strategic Planning
- Mobile Vet Center
- Operation Military Kids
- Veteran Service Organizations
- Decision Day for prospective student Veterans
- In conjunction with the Summit, the Department of Veterans Affairs will host a one-day Stand Down.
The NEK Veterans Summit is for…
- Prospective student Veterans
- Veterans of all ages and eras
- Active duty and reserve personnel
- Adult family members of Veterans and active duty and reserve personnel
- Law enforcement officers who come in contact with Veterans service providers
- Children of Veterans ages 6 and above (supervised recreation activities will be provided throughout the day a so that the parents can attend the sessions. Lunch will also be provided)
Salute to our Sponsors
Please thank our sponsors for their generous contributions. Without their support, this event would not be possible.
Platinum Sponsor: Mobile Medical International Corporation
Vermont Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA-26-1)
Vermont Veteran Services
Blue Star Mothers of Vermont
Donna Rae Heath
John des Groseilliers, USAR Ambassador-Vermont
Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA)
Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, Inc.
Paranormal Club at Lyndon State College
Thom Anderson, Assistant Professor, Lyndon State College
Vermont Broadcast Associates
The purpose of the breakout sessions is to engage participants in a meaningful and productive dialogue concerning the respective session topic at hand. Each session will have a moderator and 4-5 panelists. The panelists will share their experiences, and offer their perspectives and insights. Participants in the audience are encouraged to share their insights as well. Near the end of each session, the moderator will, in conjunction with participants, identify the main points, paths forward or major findings of the session. This information will be compiled and shared with all participants after the summit.
PTSD Over the Long Haul: The Experience of Vietnam Veterans
The panel for this session will be composed of Vietnam Veterans who are willing to share their experiences with PTSD and how it has impacted their lives and relationships over the past 40+ years. Their experiences and advice will be of particular interest to both veterans and their family members.
Veterans, Law Enforcement, and the Criminal Justice System
Law enforcement officers are often the first to respond when a veteran struggles with combat related stress, mental health, or substance abuse issues. The goal of this session is to discuss how best to avoid the entanglement of veterans with the traditional justice system and to give them treatment and tools for effective problem solving, rehabilitation, and readjustment. This panel will be of particular interest to veterans, family members, and law enforcement officers who seek to better understand the issues that some combat Veterans face upon their transition to civilian life.
Military Families and Children: Dealing with Post-Deployment Adjustment
Military families and children often experience deployment-related adjustment challenges related to spousal/parental separation, family reunification, and reintegration. Some families also experience the pain and trauma associated with the return of a spouse/parent who has sustained combat injuries, or a death. This session will address some of the major challenges families face and draw from the experience and advice of military family members. Veterans and their family members are strongly encouraged to participate in this session.
Veterans Helping Veterans: The Importance of Connecting with Other Veterans
Veterans of all eras benefit when they connect with each other to share stories, experiences, discuss resources, make lasting friendships, and confront challenges. Veteran organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Vet to Vet, and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association play a critical role in connecting veterans to information, resources, meaningful service projects, and camaraderie. The panelists for this session will discuss the importance of club memberships and connecting with other veterans. This session will be of benefit to both veterans and their family members.
Student Veteran Panel
As the number of student veterans continues to grow, professors and administrators need to understand the issues, problems, and challenges of academic life that veterans face. Student veterans are more likely to be married, have children, and commute, than traditional students. Many Vermont and North Country veterans are first-generation college students and would have very limited options for funding their education without military educational benefits. Some continue to serve and can be called up for deployment in the middle of a semester. Some return from combat needing help dealing with the emotional aftermath of war. Thus, veterans require unique forms of support and resources in order to ensure a smooth transition to academic life leading to success in and out of the classroom. Student veterans will discuss their transition from combat to the classroom and take questions from the audience.
The Stand Down
The Department of Veterans Affairs will be hosting a one-day Stand Down in conjunction with the NEK Veterans Summit. Stand Downs are one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to provide services to homeless veterans. Stand Downs are typically one to three day events providing services to homeless Veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment. Stand Downs are collaborative events, coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies, and community agencies who serve the homeless. The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego. Since then, Stand Downs have been used as an effective tool in reaching out to homeless veterans, reaching more than 200,000 veterans and their family members between1994-2000.
The Mobile Vet Center
Available throughout the Summit, the Mobile Vet Center is a 30 foot long bus and is operated by the White River Junction Vet Center. It provides readjustment counseling and information resources to combat veterans. Like community-based veteran centers, Mobile Vet Centers focus on services that help combat veterans make the transition between military and civilian life.
Operation Military Kids (OMK)
Coordinated by University of Vermont Extension 4-H, OMK Vermont helps the community understand the full cycle of deployment and its impact on children and families. In a state like Vermont, where there is no military base to connect them, military children can be invisible to coaches, teachers and community. OMK provides educational, recreational and support activities to children and youth of service men and women in Vermont – building community connections for kids, empowering teens to share their stories and helping them to educate the community about the realities of the deployment cycle. Staff from Operation Military Kids will be on hand throughout the day to provide recreational activities for children ages six and up so that their parents can attend the Summit.
Veteran Service Organizations
Numerous veteran service organizations will have information and resource booths at the summit. Veterans and their families are strongly encouraged to visit the booths, learn about available resources, and meet service providers. See exhibitor insert in your folder.
The Honorable Bernie Sanders, United States Senator from Vermont
Bernie Sanders was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving sixteen years in the House of Representatives. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. Born in 1941 in Brooklyn, Bernie was the younger of two sons in a modest-income family. After graduation from the University of Chicago in 1964, he moved to Vermont. Early in his career, Sanders was director of the American People’s Historical Society. Elected Mayor of Burlington by 10 votes in 1981, he served four terms. Before his 1990 election as Vermont’s at-large member in Congress, Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York.
The Almanac of American Politics has called Sanders a “practical” and “successful legislator.” He has focused on the shrinking middle class and widening income gap in America that is greater than at any time since the Great Depression. Other priorities include reversing global warming, universal health care, fair trade policies, supporting veterans and preserving family farms. He serves on five Senate committees: Budget; Veterans; Energy; Environment; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
The Honorable Peter Welch, State Legislator and Member of Congress from Vermont
Peter Welch has been a champion for working Vermonters throughout his distinguished career as a state legislator and Member of Congress. Since his election to Congress in 2006, he has been widely recognized in Washington as a skillful and effective legislator.
Peter’s solid record of accomplishment reflects his strong commitment to bringing people together to find real solutions to the difficult challenges facing our state and nation. In a climate of gridlock and partisanship, he has worked across the aisle in Congress to create jobs, make college and health care more affordable, balance the budget fairly, increase energy efficiency, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and take care of our veterans.
He was first elected to represent Windsor County in the Vermont Senate in 1980. In 1985, he was unanimously elected by his colleagues to lead the chamber, becoming the first Democrat in Vermont history to hold the position of President Pro Tempore.
As a member of the House, Peter has championed legislation to make homes and buildings more energy efficient, make college affordable, and expand access to health care. In 2011, Peter was appointed to serve as a Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus. He serves on the Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Peter is married to Margaret Cheney, a Vermont state representative. They share a home in Norwich, Vermont.
Major General Steven A. Cray, Adjutant General of Vermont
Major General Steven A. Cray is the Adjutant General of Vermont. In this post he serves as the senior uniformed officer in the state, and is responsible for the organization, training, and equipping of the 4,000 members of the Vermont Army and Air National Guard. As Adjutant General, he also serves as inspector general, quartermaster general and head of the State Military Department, including Veterans Affairs.
General Cray enlisted in the Vermont Air National Guard while a student at UVM. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant after graduating from the Academy of Military Science in 1984. He became a pilot and attained the rating of command pilot, logging over 2,500 hours of military flying, mostly in the F-16. He is a qualified Joint Task Force Commander. General Cray held a variety of command, supervisory and staff positions in the 158th Fighter Wing and Vermont Joint Force Headquarters. Prior to his appointment as Adjutant General he served as Assistant Adjutant General for Air. The aircraft he has flown include the F-16A/B/C/D, AT-38, T-38, and T-37.
In February, 2013 Cray defeated three other candidates in the Vermont General Assembly election for the position. Cray was promoted to Major General and took over from Thomas E. Drew on March 1, 2013.
Joe Bertolino, President of Lyndon State College
Dr. Joe Bertolino recently began a new appointment as the 15th President of Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vermont. Prior to his arrival at Lyndon, Dr. Bertolino served as Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Student Personnel at Queens College/City University of New York from 2004-2012. Dr. Bertolino also served as the Dean for Community Development at Barnard College of Columbia University, and has worked in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania state higher education systems and the SUNY system.
During 2010-2011, Dr. Bertolino served as a Fellow with the American Council on Education at the University of Houston System, under the mentorship of Chancellor Renu Khator, and at the University of Texas at Brownsville, under the mentorship of President Juliet Garcia.
Administrative leadership in higher education has been Dr. Bertolino’s passion for the past twenty years. Beyond Lyndon State College, Dr. Bertolino is an author, lecturer and teacher, having presented hundreds of programs to tens of thousands of students at over 600 colleges and conferences nationwide. He has authored numerous articles and book chapters, and is the co-author of Let the Games Begin, A Guide for Peer Mentors (2012) with Dr. Ruth Frisz. Dr. Bertolino has been recognized with numerous outstanding professional awards from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA), the Association of Fraternity Advisors (AFA), and the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA). Campus Activities Magazine named Joe “Best Diversity Artist” in 2007 and the American College Personnel Association presented Joe with the prestigious Annuit Coeptis Award. Recently his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Scranton (PA), presented him with the 2011 Frank O’Hara Award in Education, the highest award given jointly by the University and National Alumni Society.
Gary Moore is president of the consulting firm Gary W. Moore Associates. He teaches Weapons of Mass Destruction Incident Management around the U.S. for TEEX, a division of the Texas A&M University System. Mr. Moore also instructs for the Vermont Fire and Police Academies and he currently serves on the Vermont Hazardous Materials Response Team.
Previously, he had a 22-year career at St. Johnsbury Academy, the last 16 as Assistant Headmaster. Mr. Moore was a long-time member of the Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team. A former Commissioner of the Vermont Fish & Game Department, Mr. Moore has chaired the Vermont Water Resources Board, the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and served on the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission. Mr. Moore has also served on the Vermont Mental Health Board, the Vermont Fish & Game Board and on the boards of the Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium and the Green Mountain Council of Boy Scouts of America.
Mr. Moore represents Vermont on the bi-state Connecticut River Joint Commissions and on the four-state Connecticut River Valley Flood Control Commission. He and his wife Linda reside in Bradford where he is the Chairman of the Police Commission and the town’s Emergency Management Director. Dedicated to the fire service, Mr. Moore retired from the Bradford Fire Department in 2006 after 33 years, much of which he served as Chief or Assistant Chief. He then became Chief of the West Newbury Fire Department where he remains an active member.
Mr. Moore received a Bachelor of Science degree from Lyndon State College, a Master of Arts from Dartmouth College and a CAGS in Administration and Planning from the University of Vermont and has done graduate work at many other colleges and universities. Mr. Moore has been a member of the VSC Board of Trustees since 1991 and was elected Chairman of the Board in June 2006.
Mr. Michael Dakduk served under 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, 1st ANGLICO, where he deployed to Iraq in 2005. Upon return, he was selected to serve with the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion. His second deployment was to Afghanistan in 2007. In the Marine Corps, he earned numerous military decorations for distinguished service in combat. Mr. Dakduk left active duty in 2008 to finish his college degree. While maintaining a full-time academic schedule, he organized student veterans on his campus as a chapter of SVA. He later served as the Student Veterans of America National Vice President, and contributed over 4,000 volunteer service hours to the organization. For his dedication to supporting America’s student veterans, he was awarded the U.S. President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award. Mr. Dakduk has been featured or quoted as a subject matter expert on Veterans’ Affairs in the Washington Post, USA Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Fox News, Fox and Friends, CNN, the Associated Press, Military Times, and other leading local and national media outlets. He completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He earned several awards for academic achievement and leadership, including the Horatio Alger Military Scholarship and the President Harry S. Truman Scholarship
Kristin Henderson is an author and journalist, including reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan. Her work earned the Military Reporters & Editors association’s large market newspaper/magazine awards for domestic coverage as well as overseas coverage, and Bread Loaf fiction scholarships and a nonfiction fellowship.
She’s the author of The Zargari Incident, While They’re at War, and Driving by Moonlight. Her reporting has appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, The New York Times, and Military.com, among others. Media appearances include NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Fresh Air”, NBC’s “Weekend Today Show”, MSNBC, C-SPAN, BBC, and Australian radio (ABC).
Kristin is married to a Navy chaplain who served with the Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq. She lives in Washington, DC, where she’s on the staff of the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a nonprofit that assists injured service members and their families.
Thom is an assistant professor of Recreation at Lyndon State College in Vermont. He is the chair of the Mountain Recreation Management Department and serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Rural Students. Thom is a Class Director for the Midwest Community Development Institute at the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. He co-founded the High Atlas Foundation (an international community development organization) and is currently a member of the board of directors. He is also a member of the advisory council for CorpsAfrica, a national service program for Africans. Thom served in Morocco with the Peace Corps from 1991 to 1995; and from 1997 to 1999 he worked as the Center Director for the United Seamen’s Service in Casablanca, Morocco. From 1999 to 2005, he managed the Peace Corps Fellows Program, an internship program for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers at Western Illinois University. Thom also served in the United States Marine Corps from 1981 to 1985.
Paul Gibeault is a licensed mental health professional, provides direct service and consultation to military families. Also provides education and outreach to the community.
Bob is currently a Deputy Sheriff, Court Bailiff, and Training Officer with the Coos County NH Sheriff’s Office. He started in law enforcement in 2001, and graduated from the No. 226 State of NH Police Academy. Prior to his career in law enforcement, Bob was the president of Holmes & Company Real Estate, a re-development company. He was also the chief financial officer and partner at Pinnacle Properties based in NH. Bob graduated from Franconia College in 1967, was an exchange student at Oxford University in England, and later studied at Nasson College in ME. From 1969 to 1973, he served in the United States Coast Guard. Tours included service as an aircraft crash rescue and firefighter at the Training Center in Cape May, NJ and multiple deployments on the North Atlantic Ice Patrol aboard the cutter, Cook Inlet, based in Portland, ME. When the ship was deployed to Vietnam as part of USCG Squadron Three “Operation Market Time”, Storekeeper Holmes acted as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Navy and participated in the turnover of the ship to them in 1971. As a member of Brown Water Operations in Vietnam, Bob was awarded multiple decorations for combat, civilian medical and military rescue operations.
Greg MacDonald has recently retired from the State of Vermont after 30 years of working in the field of human services. Twenty three of those years he worked for the Vermont Department of Corrections primarily as the District Manager for the Probation and Parole Office in St. Johnsbury. He ended his career as the Field Director for the State of Vermont Agency of Human Services covering the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Greg was born in Boston and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1970 where he became a security police office at numerous state-side duty stations as well as completing a tour of duty in Vietnam. After being honorably discharged from active duty, he attended Northeastern University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Greg has been very involved in the community serving on numerous boards, including eight years on the St. Johnsbury School Board. In 2010 the NEK Chamber of Commerce recognized him as their Citizen of the Year, “for his extensive contributions of time and dedication to the most vulnerable of our population.” Greg has lived in St. Johnsbury for the past 23 years, with his wife Penny and their two children Ian and Molly.
Chara Vincelette-Perocchi is the Student Resources Advisor for Veterans for the Community College of Vermont. She helps veteran students navigate the complicated system of agencies and resources statewide. Chara lives in St. Albans with her three children and is based at the CCV-St. Albans academic center. She earned a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri. She is a veteran of Operation enduring Freedom, she is currently a member of the Vermont National Guard, and in her eighteen years with the Guard has served as public affairs executive officer, logistics officer, and mortuary affairs officer. She understands the special needs of veterans and their families.