BRISTOL – The North Central Area On Aging (NCAAA) has officially designated the Veterans Strong Community Center a “focal point partner” in recognition for their efforts to assist senior veterans.
Garland Tanksley, veteran’s services support broker and nutrition services monitor with the NCAAA, stopped in to the Veterans Strong Community Center Friday to make the partnership official. The NCAAA assists seniors in 40 towns in the Hartford area, connecting them with services for nutrition, respite, caregiver support and assistance for veterans.
Tanksley acts as a liaison for veterans with the Department of Veterans Affairs and he has contacts at the VA centers in West Haven and Newington.
“We have heard great things about the Veterans Strong Community Center,” said Tanksley. “The purpose of this designation as a focal point partner is for us to be working together to assist veterans in need.”
Tanksley said that the “focal point partner” program has been in operation for about two years. It allows the NCAAA to coordinate with more than 40 veteran’s service organizations in local communities.
Donna Dognin, executive director of the Veterans Strong Community Center said that, between the two organizations, they will ensure that veterans will get hooked up with the help they need.
The nonprofit Veterans Strong Community Center, based on the first floor at City Hall, has now been in operation for five years. In an average year, she said, 250 veterans come there for help.
“We are seeing more and more veterans 55 or older coming to us for assistance,” said Dognin.
The Veterans Strong Community Center assists veterans in Bristol, Burlington, Harwinton, Plainville, Wolcott, Thomaston and Plymouth by connecting them with information about medical assistance, bill assistance and more.
The center also has a computer for use in accessing these services as well as a food pantry and a stock of winter coats.
Next year, the Veterans Strong Community Center plans to relocate to the Bristol Senior Center and transitioning its food pantry into a gift card program.
In addition to the NCAAA, the Veterans Strong Community Center has also recently partnered with The Bob Woodruff Foundation’s “Got Your 6 Network.” According to bobwoodrufffoundation.org, it is a “national network of locally-based collaboratives of community veterans’ organizations.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.