Vets, Families Enjoy a Fun Day in Their Honor

Antonio Silvera Juan Serrano and friend preparing for the festivities

For members of the military, nothing is more precious than a day spent with loved ones in a beautiful, serene setting.  Thanks to the efforts of many  North Shore-LIJ staff members dedicated to helping our returning veterans  ease into the reintegration process, that’s just what many of our heroes enjoyed recently in Eisenhower Park.

The health system’s   Office of Military and Veterans Liaison Services, together with the Rosen Family Wellness Center in Manhasset and the Unified Behavioral Health Center in Bay Shore, took part by hosting a Military and Veteran Family Day at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Sunday, Oct. 11.               
For several  hours that day, military families enjoyed games and treats, bouncy houses, face painting, arts and crafts. Most importantly, they had the opportunity to meet other veterans, share their stories, and interact with the mental health professionals who are helping them deal with stress.

Robert Pina, 55, of Roosevelt, NY, was happy to attend the event with his daughter, Brittany, 8.

“It’s a wonderful thing to be able to come together and talk to one another about our experiences in service,” said Mr. Pina. “We all have stories to tell, and today, we can see how we’re all doing. This is a great day for us.”

Antonio Silvera , a 30-year veteran of the US Air Force,  serves as a specialist in Veteran Programs for the health system’s Talent Acquisition team. One look at Mr. Silvera interacting with fellow veterans indicated that there was no place on earth he would rather have been that day.

“Veterans are proud, and it’s often very difficult for them to ask for help,” said Mr. Silvera. “I’m so proud to work for an organization that does so much to help members of the military who are having a rough time. A day like this is so important because we want them to know that they can come to us with their concerns and we will always be there to help them.”

Juan Serrano,  the program’s director and a nine-year veteran of the US Marine Corps, said that a coming together of veterans, their families and the staff dedicated to supporting them is invaluable to the healing process.

“All of us at North Shore-LIJ are so proud and honored to be working directly with our veterans and their family members, whether it’s helping them deal with the difficult memories of wartime experience or the stressors encountered by returning to civilian life.

“They defended us, and we can never repay their sacrifices. They were there for us, and we are committed to being there for them.”

To speak to someone in the Office of Military and Veterans Liaison Services, call 516-398-8810.

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