Senator John E. Brooks (SD-8) held a press conference today in Albany in support of The PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project and their mission to provide peer-to-peer support and counseling to veterans and their families through programs, projects, and education in order to promote mental wellness, camaraderie, and purpose. The Dwyer Project began in 2012 as a pilot partnership between the Suffolk County United Veterans Program and the Suffolk County Veterans Service Agency and has expanded to 23 counties across the state. It receives its funding from the NYS Senate Budget, which is currently up for review in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
“The Dwyer Project is more than just treatment and programs, it has become a community of service and an extended family for many who otherwise would be unable to cope with their struggles;” says Brent Russell, Program Coordinator of the Nassau/Suffolk chapters. “We are grateful to Senator Brooks for his leadership on this issue as well as his unceasing dedication to veterans in general. We look forward to continuing our efforts together and will be standing by him throughout this process.”
As a veteran himself and the Chairman of the Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs, Senator Brooks is uniquely capable of understanding the impending need to secure continued support for important programs such as the Dwyer Project, and is leading the drive to ensure its execution as his top priority.
“The urgent need for this program, and others like it, is evident in the needs of those suffering from their experiences and our first goal is to make sure they know that they have not been forgotten,” says Senator Brooks. “This is a program that enables veterans with knowledge and understanding of issues like PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), depression, and substance abuse to meet with and counsel veterans who are suffering from one, or several, of these afflictions as a result of their service to our country.”
Senator Brooks will be working tirelessly with his Senate colleagues to secure the proper funding for the Dwyer Project as the budget process continues.
Senator Monica Martinez said, “The Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Project is vitally important for our veteran community. The services this program provides to our military men and women is insurmountable. Many of our veterans suffer from mental and emotional affliction due to their military service and we must care for them as they cared for us. As the aunt of an active service member, I am grateful for programs such as the Joseph P. Dwyer Project.”
Senator Jen Metzger said, "The Vet2Vet program, sponsored by the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Project, is one of New York's best programs to assist and support veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war and can help save lives, yet it is not available to most of the veterans I represent in the Hudson Valley and Catskills. Having access to these peer-to-peer resources is particularly important in rural communities, where isolation is a greater problem and a significant contributing factor to higher suicide rates. This is why I am strongly advocating for extending this program to Sullivan and Ulster counties in this year's budget. Our veterans have served our country bravely and sacrificed for us, and we owe it to them to provide them with the support and services they need to thrive."
Senator Kevin Thomas said, "The Joseph P. Dwyer Project provides critical support to the brave men and women who have served our country, and has no doubt saved countless lives across our state. This program not only plays a direct role in connecting our veterans with critical community resources and one another, but it serves as an important reminder that New York State stands behind them, and we remain grateful for their selfless service and sacrifice. I am proud to stand with Senator Brooks in support of the Dwyer Project and the incredible work they do for our communities."