Operation Desert Storm veteran Tom Merriam is trying to get back into the workforce.
So, after hearing about Rally Point from friends, he went to the Byrnes Health Education Center on Sunday to network and get some information. The free event featured 37 organizations that help local vets.
Merriam, 54, of Lower Windsor Township knew there were resources out there — he just didn't know their names, he said.
"I learned a lot over the last several weeks, and today just helped put some names with some possible resources," he said.
As he left with leaflets, phone numbers and a door prize in hand, Merriam said he hopes he can use the resources he qualifies for.
"It seemed like there were a lot of organizations that had a lot to offer," he said.
Attendance: Between 50 and 100 vets came to the program, said Susan Byrnes, chairwoman of the York County Veterans Outreach Group, which organized the event.
For Vietnam vet Alan Frame, that number was far too few.
"I was hoping for more veterans to come," he said.
Frame, 67, of West Manchester Township was frustrated with his fellow veterans, as many of them could benefit from the organizations at Rally Point, he said.
"They know who they are if they need help," he said.
Unfortunately, Frame said, many who don't get the help they need end up getting in trouble with drugs or crime. In turn, he said, they're often sent to York County Veterans Treatment Court, where he's a mentor.
"If I can help them, the guys and girls in the court, then that's what I'm here for," he said.
But although the system works, it's better for vets to get on their feet in the first place, Frame said.
Another rally?: Byrnes said the event started as a way to make vets more aware of the resources that are out there.
"We have to make them available and get them to our veterans and their families," she said.
Organizations that address several issues — from housing to recreation to suicide prevention — have shown "tremendous" support, and they got to network at the event, too, Byrnes said.
"Organizations that might not have known about one another are talking to one another," she said.
She said she's planning on doing another event like Rally Point but has to run the idea past the committee first.
Those who want to learn more about York County's veterans resources can visit www.salute4service.org or call (717) 755-6851.
— Reach Mollie Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.