Franklin Veterans Office Taping a Virtual Program for Veterans DayOct 29, 2020 10:44AM ● By J.D. O’Gara
Franklin Veterans Agent Dale Kurtz notes that the latest brick installation at the Franklin Veterans Memorial Walkway will take place before November 11th, Veterans Day, this year. Although a luncheon honoring veterans usually takes place at Franklin Senior Center, this year, because of Covid-19, said Kurtz, “I’ll be taping a virtual Veterans Day program, where I’m going to focus on veterans, then it will be played on local TV on Veterans Day and days thereafter.” At press time, Kurtz was contacting different veterans, inviting them to participate. The program, he said, would include interviews with non-veterans as well, asking them “What does Veterans Day mean to you?”
“I just wanted to focus on the meaning of the day and really hone in on how special our vets are,” said Kurtz.
In addition to the virtual celebration of veterans, members of the Franklin American Legion Edward L. Grant Post 75 will be holding small celebrations, not open to the public, for veterans at local assisted living centers in town, said Kurtz.
When asked what top concerns are among local veterans, Kurtz replied that issues of Covid-19 are “amplified for our vets. I look at my older veterans, who maybe live alone – they’re very isolated now. They used to be able to come to our senior center or veterans’ events, and with that (isolation) comes concerns about suicide.” Such issues, he said, have been the subject of discussions in the VSO and the VA.”
“There’s also concern about domestic abuse,” says Kurtz. “(Being together) 24/7, sometimes you can rub each other the wrong way, and then because you’re isolated, and because you can’t go out, you may have an extra drink, and tensions rise, and we’ve got an issue. Those are things I worry about with my veterans, and I just want them to be healthy and to be safe.”
Kurtz encourages local veterans to reach out to the VA Crisis line. Veterans having a crisis or those who know a veteran experiencing issues can call 800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat. Locally, Kurtz encourages veterans experiencing substance abuse or domestic violence issues to reach out to the SAFE Coalition, which serves 9 local communities and is located right in Norfolk. The SAFE Coalition support hotline can be reached at (508) 488-8105. Kurtz explained that veterans can also head to a Veterans Center, the nearest being in Brockton, although vet centers are located in Boston and Worcester as well.
“They’re fantastic, with counselors, doctors on staff,” said Kurtz. The doctors, he said, “are part of the VA, but work independently of the VA medical system. You don’t have to be a part of the VA to use it – you just have to be a veteran.”