The Veterans One-stop Center of WNY is pleased to announce it has received $185,000 from New York State and Erie County to continue implementing the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program “We are Dwyer” for all of Erie County.
The funding allows the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY to continue building on We are Dwyer which currently hosts over 175 free events annually throughout Western New York. We are Dwyer Peer Support Program offers peer-to-peer support social activities, events, community service, and collaborative activities to veterans who experience challenges after service, and who are looking to retain the spirit of camaraderie and connection
Over 3,400 Western New York veterans and service members currently utilize We are Dwyer and the additional funding allows the program to expand impact and outreach to even more military members.
"The PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program We are Dwyer continues to provide comprehensive, inclusive support to veterans and their families as they make the transition from military life to civilian life” states Senator Tim Kennedy. “From hands-on art and music experiences, to meditation and yoga, to therapeutic equine opportunities, the We are Dwyer program remains a critical resource for Western New York veterans, which is why we're proud to deliver New York State funding that will continue to fuel these important efforts."
“The Veterans One-stop Center is grateful to the New York Senate, including Sen. Kennedy for his efforts for securing the funding on behalf of Erie County veterans,
service members and military families.” says Chuck Marra, President and CEO of the Veterans One-stop Center. “We are Dwyer is a crucial program that improves the lives of those who served for our great nation by connecting and uniting them with peers who understand what civilians cannot. Peer support, social activities, and community engagement is necessary to support and assist our veterans lead full and productive lives after they have risked their lives to defend ours.”
Marine veteran and We are Dwyer participant Christopher Veltri states, “Organizations such as the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY and peer to peer programs such as We are Dwyer are mission critical for veteran reintegration. They provide a familiar comradery that can only be facilitated by other veterans in this type of environment. The Veterans One-stop Center’s peer support program We are Dwyer stands out because of their wide variety of programming that can reach any type of veteran and need!”
We are Dwyer honors PFC Joseph P. Dwyer, who enlisted in the Army within days of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. PFC Dwyer returned home after serving honorably, but suffered from severe depression, extreme loneliness and isolation from other military members who understood what he had experienced while serving. Due to complications from PTSD, battling substance abuse and depression, PFC Dwyer passed away on June 28, 2008 at the age of 31.