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Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide

In Our Community

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Connecting Point: Greenfield Community College Veteran Careers Program

Our veterans put their lives on the line for our freedom, but the transition from service to civilian life can be difficult, including in the area of employment. Helping returning veterans get back into the workforce is a top priority for veterans career and affairs counselor Chris Demars of Greenfield Community College. Carolee McGrath talked with Chris and Ben Hefner, a Marine, about training programs that are leading to good paying jobs in Franklin County. More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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Connecting Point: PTSD & First Responders

Law enforcement officers and first responders can have special concerns when dealing with military veterans suffering from PTSD, and a new program is trying to address those issues. Carolee McGrath sits down with Elizabeth Price and John Rocca from the Veterans Administration to find out more. More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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PURPLE HEARTS REUNITED

Purple Hearts Reunited

Captain Zachariah Fike, founder of Purple Hearts Reunited, tracks down lost or stolen medals and returns them to the veterans who earned them or to their family members.

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Pearl Harbor Veteran Robert Greenleaf

Robert Greenleaf of Westfield, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, was just 19 years old when the attack on Pearl Harbor took place on December 7th, 1941. He shares his memories of that day.

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VETERANS WITH PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Bryan Doe, outreach representative for the Springfield Veterans Center, talks about his struggles with PTSD after his 8 years of service and his two deployments in Iraq. He is joined by Dr. Scott Cornelius, clinical psychologist with VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System.

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JOHN ARTHUR

Vietnam Vet John Arthur

John Arthur of Longmeadow, who served in Vietnam in the mid 60’s, talks about his time in the service and the impact it had on his life.

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USS CONSTITUTION

Connecting Point: USS Constitution

The USS CONSTITUTION, the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat, promotes the United States Navy and America's naval heritage through educational outreach, public access and historic demonstrations, both in port and underway. Connecting Point paid a visit to this historic ship to learn more from its crew.  

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OPERATION CASTLE

Operation Castle

Operation Castle was a series of six hydrogen bomb tests by the United States in the Marshall Islands during the 1950s. It was declassified in the 1990s, and Holland, MA resident and U.S. Army veteran Ronald Benoit details his eyewitness account as an MP assigned to the tests.

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BOUCHARD HOMES FOR HEROES

Homes for Our Troops

Sergeant Joshua Bouchard of Granby, MA was on his second deployment when he lost his left leg and broke his back after his vehicle drove over an IED ("improvised explosive device") in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on July 8th, 2009 during a night mission. On April 27th 2012, the non profit agency Homes for Our Troops began construction on a specially built home for Josh and his return to civilian life.

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WOMEN ORDINANCE WORKERS

Women Ordinance Workers

Women Ordinance Workers filled the shoes of the men who left for military service during World War II. Here in Western Massachusetts, thousands of women hammered steel and shaped wood into rifles at the Springfield Armory. Referred to as "WOW", these women played an integral role in the success of this nation's military efforts, and Connecting Point talked with several of these women about their experiences during this pivotal moment in our wartime history.

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From the Factories to the Frontlines: Our Stories of WWII

This documentary is an effort to preserve some of the stories of World War II (WWII). Interviews with local veterans, factory workers, historians and entertainers tell the story of how this region as well as this country was galvanized during the greatest and deadliest war of all time.

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Fathers and Sons

Conceived by Norman Russell, “Fathers and Sons" grew out of a desire to keep war experiences alive and real. The title of the documentary is borrowed from Russell’s poem to his father, who committed suicide three years after he returned from World War II.   The documentary features the stories of six combat veterans, two from World War II and four from Vietnam, as they share their experiences of war. This documentary raises questions about the very nature of war: the victors, the vanquished and what it means to survive.  More local stories of service.

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Yanks Fight the Kaiser: A National Guard Division in WWI

Employs archival photographs, silent movies, period newsreels and German war footage to piece together the story of one National Guard unit's contributions to the "War to End all Wars": WWI. The 26th "Yankee" Division, comprised of citizen-soldiers from all six New England states, arrived in France in the fall of 1917, ill-equipped and untrained. Ultimately, this relatively inexperienced regiment played a key role in every major battle of the war, fighting alongside General Pershing's three veteran army divisions.

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Model T’s to War: American Ambulances on the Western Front

Although American readers regularly followed the adventures of these brave ambulanciers through numerous accounts published in local and national newspapers of the era, few today know about their heroic deeds. MODEL T's TO WAR seeks to shed light on this forgotten story. The film takes viewers on an archaeological journey of discovery - from French battlefield sites still littered with World War I artifacts to recently discovered silent-film footage and hundreds of previously unpublished war-time photographs.

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Connecting Point: Veteran Homelessness

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states that the nation’s homeless veterans are predominantly male, with roughly 8% being female. The majority are single; live in urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. About 12% of the adult homeless population are veterans. Produce Dave Fraser talks with several local Veterans and shares their stories of transitioning out of the US military and the challenges they faced. Soldier On Soldier On on Facebook @WeSoldierOn

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Veterans Coming Home: A Connecting Point Special Series

Jim Madigan previews Connecting Point's new special series focuses on veterans' issues: Veterans Coming Home.  Tune in Monday & Wednesday nights at 7:30 for stories focusing on the challenges facing our local veterans.  

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Connecting Point: Social Integration

Producer Tony Dunne and videographer Mark Langevin talk to area veterans about their struggles to return to civilian life after their time of service, the resources that helped them, and the problems that issues such as geography, education and circumstance play in that transition. Follow the Dept. of Veterans Affairs on twitter  @DeptVetsAffairs Dept. Of Veterans Affairs on Facebook More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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Connecting Point: PTSD

Veterans Affairs Patient Service Coordinator & veteran Leigh Paz and US Army Iraq War veteran Andrew Bellizzi discuss their own battles with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the addiction problems and other difficulties that often accompany PTSD. Veterans Affairs website Follow the Dept. of Veterans Affairs on Twitter: @DeptVetAffairs The Dept. of Veterans Affairs on Facebook More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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Connecting Point: Military Sexual Trauma

Jim Madigan takes a look at the new “Women’s Health Center” at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Leeds. At this center attention is being paid to what is known as MST: Military Sexual Trauma, including both sexual harassment and actual assaults, and it’s now being treated as one more very important component of the overall physical and psychological health needs of female veterans. Madigan talks with one Army veteran and three women who work at the Center in Leeds about this issue. Central Western Mass VA Central Western Mass VA on Facebook More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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Connecting Point: Veteran Housing

Connecting Point’s Jim Madigan discusses homeless veterans & veteran housing with Jim Seney, a Social Work Executive and Program Manager for Community Reintegration Services at the VA Central Western Massachusetts Health Care System. He will also be joined by US Army veteran Jason Allen. VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System on Twitter: @VeteransHealth VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System on Facebook

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Connecting Point: Reintegrating into Everyday Life

Iraq War veteran John Paradis, USAF LT. COL.(Ret.) and now Deputy Superintendent of the Holyoke Soldiers Home discusses the difficulties and challenges many returning veterans face leaving the military and reintegrating into civilian life. Follow the VA on Twitter: @DepVetAffairs VA on Facebook U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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Connecting Point: Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center

Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center (NVTRC) in Gardner, MA is the first and only facility in the United States to serve afflicted veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and their families by combining housing, physical therapy, counseling, training programs, and college courses for PTSD, TBI, amputees and burn patients. Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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VETERANS ED SEGEMENT UMASS

Conecting Point: Student Veteran Resource Center at UMass

Kelly Gray, Ed.D., Associate Dean of Students for Student Life at UMass Amherst, and Col. David Vacchi, US Army (Retired) , Graduate Assistant for the Dean of Students and Coordinator of the Student Veteran Resource Center at UMass, discuss the services and help available to military veterans attending the University of Massachusetts. UMass Veterans Resources More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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Connecting Point: Veteran Employment

In tonight’s Veterans Coming Home story, we discuss the issues of veteran employment. We introduce you to two veterans, one from the Marines and the other from the Navy, and learn of the challenges they faced when they transitioned out of the military and began the search for employment and education. We also hear from social workers and employment counselors and get advice for veterans who are seeking employment.

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Connecting Point: Businesses Hiring Veterans

We talk via Skype with Lindsay Moran, Boston-based Program Manager for National Partnerships at Liberty Mutual Insurance, about that company’s commitment to recruiting and hiring veterans. Also joining us in studio is Linda Candage, Veterans Assistance Specialist at Career Points and FutureWorks Career Centers, to learn about the programs and help they have for military veterans re-entering the job market. FutureWorks Liberty Mutual More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA

Connecting Point: Military Sexual Trauma (Part 2)

Military sexual trauma, or MST, is the term used by the VA to refer to experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that a veteran experienced during his or her military service. National data reveals that about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men respond “yes,” when asked if they experienced MST when screened by their VA provider. Recently we talked to two women veterans who experienced MST. They talked about the difficulty in getting someone to listen and what they did to get the help they needed.

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A Call to Action: A Veterans Coming Home Special

WGBY’s Jim Madigan hosts "A Call to Action," a town hall-style meeting as a panel of experts and an audience of veterans examine the concerns and struggles that veterans face when returning to civilian life.

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A Veterans Coming Home Connecting Point Special

This Connecting Point special features stories from WGBY's Veterans Coming Home series, focusing on supporting veterans in their successful transition back to civilian life.  

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Connecting Point: Western New England University Veterans Assistance

Brian Zelasko, Director of Media and Community Relations and Anthony Mutti, Director of Administrative Information Systems at Western New England University discuss efforts and initiatives at WNEU to assist veterans who are students at the school. Mutti is a WNEU graduate and a veteran now serving as a Technical Sgt. with the Mass Air National Guard 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes ANG base in Westfield. More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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Connecting Point: Veterans Center at Greenfield Community College

The Veterans Center at Greenfield Community College is more than just a space in a building.  It represents a community of students who have served in the military and are now ready to enlist in service to their future.  The Center offers them the skills and resources to help them take the next step after their military service. Produce Dave Fraser visited the Center recently and shares this story. Greenfield Community College Veterans Center More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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Connecting Point: Soldier On Update

Return visit to Soldier On for an update on some of the Veterans that we interviewed last Fall. Also a look at the new 44 cooperative and 16 transitional units, including a transitional women’s center, currently under construction on unused land on the Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus in Northampton, MA. Soldier On More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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Connecting Point: Veteran Victory Farm

Last season we introduced you to Leslie Lightfoot, the founder and CEO of Veteran Homestead. Lightfoot has created six unique facilities for Veterans in New England and Puerto Rico, and her hope is to replicate these across the country. Last month producer Dave Fraser visited one of these facilities, a farm in Fitzwilliam, NH. The farm is one of several programs of Veteran Homestead, Inc., a private non-profit that treats veterans for medical and psychological problems. The veterans who live and work on the farm arrived because no other therapy and counseling programs worked for them. Many ended up there because they are homeless, and have substance abuse issues, as a result of trying to cope with post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injuries. Veteran Homestead Veteran Homestead on Facebook More from WGBY's Connecting Point

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