“These monthly events really are a historic treasure and you don’t have to be a Veteran to attend,” said Mark Halliday, event organizer for ALS. “Each and every meeting sheds light on some new piece of history introduced by both the speakers and those in attendance.”
The popular Veterans’ Coffee House averages more than 30 attendees per month. At each gathering there is a presentation followed by a discussion. New members are introduced to the group then they all describe their service to our country. To date, they have hosted Veteran speakers who hail from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The group meets on the third Tuesday of the month in Cheshire and the fourth Tuesday of the month in Wallingford. Free coffee and pastries are provided.
“One of the reasons I like to give talks is because many veterans are reluctant to tell their stories, so I feel that I am doing that for them,” explained Wiknik. “My book is also a response to the unfair stereotype of Vietnam Veterans by revealing the level of courage, principle, kindness and friendship demonstrated by most G.I.’s. These are the same elements found in other wars Americans have proudly fought in.”
Wiknik served in Vietnam with Company A 2/506th of the 101st Airborne Division as an infantry squad leader from April 1969 to March 1970. A dedicated community volunteer, Wiknik is an 18-year member of the Haddam Memorial Day Parade Committee, is a founding member of the Haddam Veteran's Museum and is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars His writing credits include stories in eight different Chicken Soup For the Soul books. He has also had articles in Army, Soldier of Fortune, Players, North American Whitetail, Rural New England, Heading Out and The Deadly Writer's Patrol magazines. Wiknik has been featured on both the History Channel and the Military Channel.
ALS and Assisted Living Technologies, Inc. (ALT) share Wiknik’s spirit of community outreach. ALS and ALT have spent years providing home care for Connecticut Veterans. Ron D’Aquila RN, Owner and CEO of ALS, saw the Coffee House as a way to not only show appreciation for their service and enrich the lives of these heroes, but to educate them about their benefits.
“ALS & ALT are all too familiar with the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of CT Veterans today that are completely unaware of the fact that there are Veteran Benefits available to them right now, as well as for their spouses,” said D’Aquila.“The most overlooked benefit may be Aid and Attendance, which can be used to pay for their care at home, or at an assisted living or nursing home facility. The benefit is tax free and in addition to Social Security and other income.”
For more than 20 years, award-winning home care agency Assisted Living Services, Inc. in Meriden has provided quality care to residents across Connecticut. Their unique CarePlus program blends personal care with technological safety and monitoring devices from sister company Assisted Living Technologies, Inc. Learn more by visiting www.assistedlivingct.com or calling 203.634.8668.
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