It began with this question: “How Can We Help Service Members and Their Families?”
Veterans Count was developed in 2007 due to Easterseals NH’s Board Member Mike Salter’s desire to bring comprehensive, emergency aid to active military and their families whose quality of life was significantly impacted by deployment to war zones.
At the time, Easterseals NH approached the New Hampshire Joint Force Headquarters and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services for assistance in designing what their vision was: a compassionate, responsive, highly-targeted care program for service members and their families who were “falling through the cracks despite their service to their country.”
Easterseals NH developed a Care Coordination model centered on highly skilled clinicians meeting one-on-one with service members and their families to address critical issues while building trust and working toward developing long-term self-sufficiency. Care Coordinators met the immediate presenting needs such as food, shelter, transportation, and mental health intervention. Once a trusting relationship was established, Care Coordinators could address deeper issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, sustainable employment, and long-term housing.
Due to the program’s success and changes in government funding, in 2012, Veterans Count expanded services to include both pre-911 and post-911 service members, veterans, and their families. Critical to the services provided by Care Coordinators were the funds that directly address emergency needs while providing a conduit for Care Coordinators to assist service members and veterans with more chronic and entrenched challenges.
As Veterans Count began to execute its mission, it became clear that more community assistance/fundraising was needed to provide adequate support. Federal and state grants provided for the training and services of Care Coordinators. Yet the need for additional funding for necessities such as food, clothing, housing, etc., was apparent. A task force comprised of business leaders was developed, and Veterans Count was formed.
Fast forward to the present, and what began as a small committee centralized in Manchester, NH, has grown to five chapters located throughout the state—Manchester (2007), Nashua (2012), the Seacoast (2012), the Lakes Region (2014), and most recently the Upper Valley (2018), as well as an Executive Committee. Together, more than 80 chapter members help raise funds and spread awareness for Veterans Count.
Easterseals NH’s Veterans Count has received the highest praise and support from our national and local elected officials. It is considered a comprehensive and successful model to emulate throughout the country. As the landscape of our military and post-deployment culture continues to shift, so too will Veterans Count to continue providing the resources and services needed to provide a hand-up to those in need.
Since inception, more than 23,220 individuals have been served. Funds totaling $5,900,638.74 have been distributed to provide financial support that may include food, utilities, housing, transportation, fuel, and vehicle repair.
With over 50 million Americans living with disabilities, our work is far from complete. We encourage you to help us call attention to the experience of people with disabilities, and to raise awareness of and advocate for the services they need to live, learn, work and play in their communities.
May 15, 2024 | 6:00 am
October 19, 2024 | 6:00 pm
Currier Museum, 150 Ash St, Manchester, NH 03104Come boogie to the big band, enjoy specialty cocktails, and mingle with good company to fundraise for Veterans Count.