Rescue Mission Helps Combat Vets


Feb. 6, 2011 -- Combat veterans are among those receiving help at the Rescue Mission of Utica, Executive Director Rev. Bill Dodge told members of Utica Post 229 during their monthly dinner meeting Feb. 3.

Rev. Bill Dodge"Some are in the mental health program. Some are in the Emergency Shelter. Some are in the Addictions Crisis Center. Some are in the Parker House residential treatment program. Others are in the Representative Payee Program" (which provides bill-paying and care management services for people unable to manage their financial affairs).

In fact, he noted, the case manager working with 40 veterans in the Rep Payee Program is a combat veteran himself.

"We are happy to do it," Rev. Dodge said, "because people coming to us who served their country have an on-going need."

Typically, one third of people seeking help at Rescue Missions across the country are veterans, he said, adding that a recent one-day survey at the Utica Mission showed that 13 percent of the men there that day served in the Armed Forces, and 67 percent of the women seeking help were veterans.

Noting that the post may serve 70 or 90 meals on the monthly meeting night, he said the Rescue Mission served 850 meals at Thanksgiving and 900 meals on Christmas Day. "We served 130,000 meals last year," he said. And in December alone, he added, they provided 2,800 food box meals to struggling families in the community. Last year the mission also provided 20,000 nights of lodging and care to those facing homelessness, and assisted over 1,000 men and women in their battle against substance abuse.

"I'm here with you tonight to thank you (for the Legion's cash and food donations) because when you help the Rescue Mission, you are also helping veterans and others in need."

Rev. Dodge was introduced by Post Commander Anthony Palladino, who noted that Utica Post 229 has donated both cash and turkeys to the Rescue Mission for several years.