Vietnam Vet is on a Mission to Leave No Veteran Behind

By Raychel Harvey-Jones

“Helping to heal veterans,” that’s the mission for Steve Bonom, president of the Vietnam Veteran’s of America (VVA) in Nassau County New York. Chapter 82

“I have been volunteering with the VVA for about seven years. I started working with Help Heal Vets (Heal Vets) about a year ago just after I became president. I met some of the folks from Heal Vets. They told me about their theurapeutic craft kits, and I thought they were a very good idea. As a Vietnam vet myself, I know how important it is to look after and care for our vets,” says Bonom.

Heal Vets, aims to help veterans keep their mind off the pain of the past and focus on the here and now. Heal Vets provides therapeutic craft kits to hospitalized and homebound veteran. Founded in 1971 it aims to help improve motor skills and develop a general feeling of well-being and worth.

“Heal Vets has a great relationship the VVA. We are really thrilled that Chapter 82 has made a direct impact on over 1,000 veterans lives through our craft kits in the Long Island, New York area. Partnering with other VSO’s like the Vietnam Veterans of America and leaders like Steve Bonom makes a huge difference in the lives of veterans,” says CEO of Heal Vets Joe McClain.

“So far I have handed out around 1000 kits to veterans home shelters and other veterans groups. Heal Vets is an organization that can help any veteran from any generation; I think that’s why I like working with them,” adds Bonom.

The department of defense launched the 50th commemoration of veteran war campaign; it ran from 2016 that will last through 2018. It’s partnering with organizations throughout the U.S. to find ways to honor those who served in Vietnam.

Bonom adds, “Heal Vets has craft kits in the form of scrapbooks depicting the fatigues of war. Each month the Air Force Association of Long Island holds an award ceremony as part of the 50th commemoration, so in addition to getting medals I have also been handing out these scrapbooks from Heal Vets.”

“I am a Vietnam vet, and remember coming back to the U.S. and being told that I should put civilian clothes on as soon as I get to the airport. There were demonstrations because of the political nature of the Vietnam war. It made me sad, and I vowed on that day that no generation of veterans would leave another behind. No matter what the war, we are going to celebrate every veteran and help to heal veterans. Help vets and the craft kits it provides are doing just that helping vets. It keeps their minds active and passes the time for many who are not mobile.”

“When I see our veterans working with these craft kits, I am thankful that somewhere, someone in our great country is giving up their time to help provide these kits through the generous donations of others.” Bonom said.