The Maine Military Community Network (MMCN) hosted its 8th annual statewide Veteran’s conference late last month. The day started with keynote speaker Dr. Nancy Sherman, progressed to a panel on “Using the Humanities” and then to service awards. VA’s Veterans Experience Office attended to show appreciation for Community Veteran Engagement Boards that have fostered Veteran Friendly-Communities with a signed certificate of appreciation from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Six collaborating Maine Military Community Network chapters have joined the Community Veteran Engagement Board network in Maine since 2015, elevating the CVEB network to over 146 groups nationwide that are meeting on a regular basis to talk about how they can assist Veterans, their caregivers and families in the communities where they live.
Afternoon breakout sessions of the Maine Veterans conference discussed moral injury, how to start a business and a rural transportation working group, ending the day with a VetTalkX event.
VetTalkX, (pronounced vet-talks), provide Veterans a platform, similar to Ted Talks, to humanize their experiences and accomplishments, often while overcoming challenges, to show Americans that Veterans are civic assets. Leveraging the success of the national VetTalkX program, which has had over 800 attendees and 22,000 live stream views, the State of Maine hosted a VetTalkX on July 19th, 2018 at the Augusta Civic Center and the University of Maine at Augusta.
Veteran speakers, like Joe Reagan, stand up before a crowd and briefly share their Veteran experience and how they became who they are today. To the general population, Veterans are often viewed as either “a hero or a zero”, a decorated combat Veteran or homeless. Most Veterans would not label themselves as either of those stereotypes, but instead as an invested citizen with the intent of building stronger communities where they call home.
To view some of the Veteran stories told at the Maine VetTalkX, visit: https://www.facebook.com/MaineMCN/.
*Blog submitted by Veterans Experience Office, Community Engagement.