Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 16, 2013

Many ways to give locally


The Andover Townsman

---- — Homes for Our Troops is a national organization that has built homes for more than 100 soldiers who became handicapped after serving.

There are plenty of ways to help area veterans through local organizations as well. Groups you can support to assist veterans in Andover are:

THE AMERICAN LEGION, POST 8 ANDOVER

The American Legion was founded in 1919 in Paris. After its first post opened in Washington, D.C. that year, a post in Andover quickly formed. It was the eighth in the state of Massachusetts to be chartered, so it is referred to as Post 8.

It started as a support group for veterans, and it continues to provide that service today, according to Post 8 Commander Ted Witman.

Post 8 provides a number of services to veterans, including helping them with jobs, apartments, money for groceries or other bills.

The organization works closely with students in the Civil Air Patrol and Navy Sea Cadets, and sends students in the area to a week-long civics program that provides experience serving in government positions such as town manager, senator and representative.

Members of the organization also lobby local and national legislators to provide veterans support. Members regularly volunteer in tutoring youth, and the post’s baseball league is a high-ranking contender in the legion’s 18-member eighth district.

For more information, Post 8 can be reached at P.O. Box 62, Andover, MA. Witman can be contacted at 978-683-9988.

ANDOVER VETERANS OFFICE, TOWN OF ANDOVER

Under state general laws, every city and town is required to have a veterans officer who serves as a resource to help veterans as well as their families.

In Andover, Mike Burke is that officer, and his office does more than just help veterans. For instance, an annual book project titled “Heroes Among Us” tells the stories of Andover’s veterans, and free patriotic concerts are frequently held by the Veterans Office.

Through Andover Veterans Services, Burke works with more than 3,000 veterans in town, and the services that the office provides also extend to the dependents of the veterans, including spouses or college-aged children.

“The Andover Veterans Office strives to meet the needs of Andover veterans, support our patriotic ceremonies and care for our veterans’ memorials. A specific gift account is established in the Andover Veterans’ Office to off-set costs for many noble causes,” Burke has said.

Donations are accepted to meet the rising costs of certain events and programs offered by the office. Such financial assistance can help in the following four areas for instance:

Annual Veterans Appreciation Luncheon: A luncheon for our veterans from all generations, yet mainly catering to the veterans getting along in years who find it difficult to attend the formal ceremonies held in and around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Assistance is needed to off-set the cost of the meal and other.

“Heroes Among Us” book project: The on-going effort to document Andover veterans’ personal history where individual veterans’ stories are documented and made available to the veterans, their families, schools, Memorial Hall Library and other groups. Assistance is needed to off-set the cost of printing these books - reducing the overall expense to the veterans and/or their families.

Patriotic Concerts: Military bands perform for free, yet there are significant costs to the community.

Seasonal floral plantings: The Veterans Office is responsible for memorial care and with it is the ongoing need to provide fresh plantings at our veterans memorials.