Vet Center to celebrate 20 years of helping veterans

October 11, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A popular poster during the Vietnam War read: "War is not good for children and other living things."

Sometimes the "other living things" are soldiers themselves, who return home from combat and find it can be difficult to adjust to the world they knew before going overseas.

That's where The Vet Center, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next Monday, can help.

Counselors at the center, on Winchester Avenue in Martinsburg, have been in combat and help other combat veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, marital or family problems, or substance abuse issues related to readjusting to society, center officials said.


Grief counseling also is available to family members of veterans, said Ron Bell, team leader at the Martinsburg center.

Bell said services are offered quickly and indefinitely to eligible combat-theater veterans.

Since opening 20 years ago The Vet Center has had 6,474 veterans enroll in its programs. Last year, the center performed 5,000 counseling visits, Bell said.

About 150 new veterans enroll every year in programs offered by the center, Bell said.

While The Vet Center was created to help Vietnam War veterans readjust, it now serves veterans of all conflicts. In Martinsburg, 25 veterans who served in the current war on terror are being served, Bell said.

Nationwide, there are 207 Vet Centers, which are administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Vet Center in Martinsburg serves veterans in counties in West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

For more information, call the center at 304-263-6776, or 800-406-7871.

If you go ...

What: Barbecue to celebrate The Vet Center's 20th anniversary in Martinsburg

When: Monday, Oct. 17, 2 to 4:30 p.m.

Who: Open to veterans

Where: The Vet Center, 900 Winchester Ave., Martinsburg

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