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Local businesses help support Veterans Count Program

LACONIA — Veterans Count was conceived in 2007 when Easter Seals' board member, Mike Salter, sought to bring comprehensive, emergency aid to veterans and their families whose quality of life was significantly impacted by deployment to war zones.

A veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces, Salter and the Easter Seals NH President and CEO Larry Gammon approached the NH Joint Force Headquarters (NH National Guard), at that time commanded by Laconia native Major General Kenneth Clark, New Hampshire's Adjutant General, and the NH Department of Health and Human Services for assistance in designing a compassionate, responsive, highly-targeted care program for veterans and their families who were "falling through the cracks," as a result of service to their country.

''The paint was peeling off the walls of the Walter Reed Hospital and their were huge problems with veteran suicides and homelessness,'' says Salter, who said that he saw the need for the private sector to become engaged in veterans programs to provide a support system which was lacking for them.

Easter Seals developed a Care Coordination model centered on highly skilled clinicians meeting one-on-one with service members and their families to address critical issues while building trust and working toward developing long-term self-sufficiency. Care Coordinators met the immediate presenting needs such as food, shelter, transportation and mental health intervention. Once a trusting relationship was established, Care Coordinators were then able to address deeper issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, sustainable employment, and long-term housing.

As Easter Seals Military & Veterans Services began to execute its mission, it became clear that more community assistance and fundraising was needed to provide adequate aid. Federal, local and national grants provided for the training and services of Care Coordinators. Yet, the need for additional funding for basic necessities such as food, clothing, housing, etc. was apparent. A task force comprised of business leaders was developed and Veterans Count was formed.

In 2014, a group of dedicated volunteers in the Lakes Region led by Cynthia Makris, Ken Lull and Tim Callahan gathered community leaders to get the ball rolling to launch a new chapter of Veterans Count. At the first meeting of the Veterans Count Lakes Region Chapter, Siddartha Sosa Rodriguez, an airman for the New Hampshire Air National Guard, spoke of the struggles he had reintegrating back into his community after returning from deployment to the Middle East in 2009.

Since connecting with Veterans Count he has secured a stable living environment, gotten married, completed his bachelor's degree in psychology and is working on his master's degree. He is also giving back to other veterans in his role as a Care Coordinator for Easter Seals Military & Veterans Services.

"It's a beautiful thing when the legacy of a WWII Marine is able to help his fellow veterans in New Hampshire today. I was honored to start the Peter Makris Memorial Run in 2007 to continue my father's spirit of giving back to his beloved community and fellow veterans. Starting a Lakes Region Chapter of Veterans Count made a lot of sense," said Makris. "There are so many giving and generous people living in the Lakes Region year round and seasonally who care deeply about our veterans and their needs.''

Yesterday the Lakes Region Chapter hosted the first Veterans Count Golf Tournament at Laconia Country Club. More than $65,000 had been raised in sponsor fees for what organizers hope will be an annual event, with $20,000 of that coming from the proceeds raised during Laconia Motorcycle Week's annual Peter Makris Run, which was started following Peter Makris' death earlier in 2007.

The tournament attracted 100 entries from all parts of New England, including former Boston Red Sox shortstop Rico Petrocelli of Needham, Mass, Bob Grappone of Grappone Auto Junction in Bow, Bob Lawton of Funspot and Milo Pike, the former president and owner of Pike Industries in Belmont.

The Laconia Police Department's Color Guard, made up of police officers Ben Black, Joseph Marquis and John Howe took part in opening ceremonies at Laconia Country Club.

All of the proceeds from the tournament will be used to help support the Veterans Count program.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 July 2015 08:36

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Community Benefits with MB Tractor and GMI Asphalt

 

 

GILFORD — Ninety-one percent of small business owners have contributed to their community in the last year through volunteering, in-kind contributions, and /or direct cash donations. MB Tractor and GMI Asphalt have made a giant step into this group with their monetary donation as well as equipment donation to construct the Gilford School PTA playground project, the Imagination Station.

MB Tractor and Equipment and GMI will be donating $15,000 along with the equipment needed to build the playground. The Bourgeois family of MB Tractor and Equipment donated $10,000 plus equipment and labor, and the Colby and Bourgeois family of GMI Asphalt donated $5,000.

The first post hole was dug on Wednesday, July 15.

Katie Bryant, a fourth-grade teacher who has been instrumental in joining all the businesses together to bring the Imagination Station to the Gilford Elementary School, explained how the combined effort with MB Tractor and GMI Asphalt for the new playground came about.

"As part of our district's Strategic Plan was to replace our playground in 2015, a committee was formed of staff, parents, school board members, and community members. We have worked since September (2014) on this process," said Bryant.

"The committee," she continued, "reviewed several proposals from playground vendors and we chose Landscape Structures as our company. Their proposal included customization and a nature-inspired theme, both of which were high priorities or our committee."

MB Tractor and GMI Asphalt have set the bar for business-community working together. Creating a better business climate and making the community a better place to live are important reasons to contribute to Imagination Station. There is something exciting about watching the business community working together to turn a dream into a new playground. MB Tractor and GMI Asphalt are an integral part of this community effort to advance the health and well-being of the SAU 73 community.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 July 2015 07:05

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Ribbon cutting today at Landing Zone patio bat and grille

GILFORD — The Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce will be doing a ribbon cutting at 3 p.m. today for the Landing Zone Patio Bar and Grille at Gunstock Mountain Resort.

Immediately following will be a locally based open house from 3:15-6 pm with a selection of passed menu samples Centerplate will provide from the Landing Zone menu. There will also be a cash bar including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink specials, and freshly brewed White Mountain ice coffee and teas.

Gunstock will also be having a Discover Package Special from 3-6 p.m. for $20.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 July 2015 05:52

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LRGHealthcare Family Birthplace Installs "state of the art" newborn safety system

LACONIA — LRGHealthcare has recently installed a new and innovative Infant Safety System developed by Certa-Scan Technologies and is the first and only healthcare system in the state of New Hampshire to offer this innovative technology.

The system allows the hospital to capture high resolution newborn footprints which can be used for precise identification in situations like abduction, lost baby or natural disaster. Footprints are a biometric, unique to each baby, so they can be used for identification throughout a lifetime. The standard ink footprints are of no use to law enforcement officials as most are not clear or complete prints for identification.

The Newborn Safety System has been praised by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The system is safe for use on babies and provides outstanding footprint quality. Nurses prefer the system because it is ease of use, and replaces the time consuming, and often time's messy ink and paper method. The digital foot prints and security photo are stored in the newborn's medical record. In addition to the added layer of safety, every new mom receives an attractive certificate of her newborn's footprint. When she returns home, she can visit a special website to enhance the certificate and download a digital copy of her baby's footprint. These additional benefits are provided as a gift from LRGHealthcare.

LRGHealthcare is on the cutting edge of using high technology to increase safety, security, customer service, and patient satisfaction.

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 20 July 2015 04:19

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