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  • UNE's Military Appreciation Club to rehabilitate and renovate properties for veteran families

     The Travis Mills Foundation announced that the Military Appreciation Club at the University of New England will be visiting the Maine Chance Veteran Family Retreat grounds on November 8, 2015 to help the Travis Mills Foundation further its mission to rehabilitate and renovate the property for veteran families. 
    The students will help prepare buildings for winterization, and clean up the grounds.  
    The University of New England recently created the Military Appreciation Club to celebrate diversity and promote awareness, support, camaraderie and integration between veteran and civilian students at UNE.  As a club, they aim to participate in service projects that are geared toward assisting members of the military and veterans.
    Currently, UNE has been working closely with the Undergraduate Student Government to plan an annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony that will take place right on the Biddeford campus. They have also been collecting used ink cartridges to donate to Operation Shoebox where they will be recycled for postage money to cover the costs of sending out care packages. Each member has joined for reasons meaningful and personal to them, but what they have in common is their passion for the work they are doing and will continue to do as members of the UNE Military Appreciation Club.
     
    The Maine Chance Veteran Family retreat is the vision of  retired U.S. Army SSG Travis Mills, 82nd Airborne, who was critically wounded in 2012 while serving his country on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.  Travis is one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive his injuries. 
    Fundraising efforts have begun in earnest to renovate this iconic homestead. Upon completion of extensive rehabilitation, the property will become the nation’s first fully-accessible, “smart home” facility dedicated to serving the recreational and reintegration needs of combat-wounded veteran families. 
    The retreat will fill a vital role in the recovery, camaraderie, spousal support, reconnection, and relaxation for our military heroes - a true and lasting symbol of a grateful nation
    For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit www.travismills.org
  • Rep. Davitt appeals decision on bill to boost funding for veterans programs in Maine

    Rep. Jim Davitt is appealing the Maine Legislative Council’s rejection of his bill to increase funding for programs that support Maine veterans and their families.

    “Too many veterans, service members and their families are struggling,” said Davitt, D-Hampden.  “This bill will help existing programs better serve veterans’ immediate needs. It’s an important step our state can take to help military families in need.”

    The bill would create a check-off box on the existing form Mainers use to file their income tax returns.  By checking the box, filers could choose to donate $5 or another amount, which would be dedicated to funding nonprofit veterans’ services initiatives through grants to be administered by the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services.

    “By working with organizations that already serve veterans, we can maximize the impact of these funds,” said Davitt.  “Maine is fortunate to have dedicated people working to help veterans in need, but these programs need our support to ensure that no Maine veteran goes hungry or without housing.”

    According to Maine Center for Economic Policy, more than 8,000 Maine veterans are living below poverty level.

    During even-numbered years, the Legislature generally limits bill submissions to those that address emergencies and other pressing situations. The Legislative Council, which is made up of each party’s leaders in the Maine House and Senate, decides which bills fit the criteria. 

    Of the nearly 400 bills submitted for the 2016 legislative session, 33 received the green light from the Council.  The Council will consider all appeals on Nov. 19.

    Davitt, a veteran of the U.S. Army, earned the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.  He is serving his first term in the Maine House and represents Hampden and Newburgh.