American Flag by Sarah Carlson, Lace Mill artistFifty years ago, I was drafted into the United States Army along with thousands of other Americans.  Though I was drafted into the Army, I’m proud of my service to my country. I spent 12 months with the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam.  When I returned, I took full advantage of the GI Bill to complete my college degrees and advance my education.

After 40 years of working and having a wonderful family with my wife, Valerie, I began to have emotional problems related to my military experience.  For 10 years, I have been going to the VA Clinic in Kingston and the VA Hospital in Albany. With the help of the Ulster County Veterans Service Agency and the great support of people I know in Kingston, I find myself lucky compared to most veterans I meet. My medical condition is not good presently, partially related to my exposure to Agent Orange. For many years I went to consultations with the Veterans Service Agency at the Alms House (soon to be Landmark Place), which is now being considered for low-income housing by RUPCO.

Many times I had asked, “Where in Kingston or Ulster County are there apartments or living areas for Veterans?”  I was told the closest one is in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. After speaking with RUPCO about this, I learned that if the Alms House is used by RUPCO, 10 apartments will be made available to veterans.  I think this is a good idea, and I know there is a controversy, but it’s the first time I’ve heard that any housing would be made available to consider Veterans in Kingston or Ulster County. Something tangible and realistic could be done for homeless veterans.  Many need a place to live. Very few are loved.

Dennis Connors, Kingston NY

Artwork by Sarah Carlson, Lace Mill resident
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