Episode 991 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about the wonderful citizens of Rochester, NY who are doing remarkable things along with and for the Vietnam Veterans who reside in that great city. The story is told in a guest essay by the Hon. Patricia Marks titled: Opening a door for Vietnam veterans in The Democrat & Chronicle of Rochester, New York. It centers around the Rochester Veterans Outreach Center.
The Hon. Patricia Marks is a Monroe County Court judge and also serves as the executive director of Veterans Outreach Center located at 447 South Ave. It was established soon after the close of the Vietnam War in an old a storefront at the corner of South Ave. and Comfort St. It was run by five committed veterans conducting peer counseling, providing job search assistance and performing Agent Orange registration.
It was tough going back then. PTSD was an undiagnosed malady and Agent Orange disease connections were still in the theoretical stage which made complications from these diseases and conditions difficult to understand and discuss. On top of those challenges, America had not yet separated its negative feelings toward the war from the warriors who did their duty and served. This meant, for most people, Vietnam War veterans remained in the shadows.
Today the Rochester Veterans Outreach Center has survived to become the longest continuous veteran non-profit center in the country. It serves over 1,000 veterans and their families a year, providing them with paths to security, success and peace of mind. The path of the VOC was not always smooth and easy.
In 1981, when funding was drying up along with community support the VOC was facing closure. Something happened that brought dramatic improvements for the VOC and the entire Rochester community including its Vietnam Veterans.
Discover what that seminal event was in episode 991.