On November 9th, DDS held its inaugural DDS Veterans event to honor and respect our Veteran co-workers, and also to learn how to make DDS a more supportive workplace for them. This was attended by many DDS staff who are also Veterans, along with our managers, our human resources and labor relations staff. Also in attendance were DVS General Counsel Eric Donovan, DVS Women Veterans’ Network Director Viviana Marcotte and Ashley Eisnor from the SAVE program. Many of DVS’ resource information was made available as well.
Veterans were introduced by the military branch they served, shared their military experiences and their position at DDS. There were also personal experiences shared by DDS Commissioner Elin Howe, DDS Assistant Commissioner Tom Simard, DDS Atty. James Bergeron, DDS N. Central Acting Asst. Area Director Leonard (Lenny) Beaton, Soldiers Home Superintendent Cheryl Poppe and Triangle Executive Director Coleman Nee. There was a powerful presentation by Gabriel Nutter from the Department of Veterans Service’s SAVE [Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment] program titled “Battlemind” about the experiences of combat veterans returning to civilian life that addresses safety concerns, relationship issues, normalized combat-related mental health reactions and symptoms — along with teaching Soldiers when they should seek mental health support for themselves or for their buddies. There was also a panel discussion with Veterans who work at DDS.
Lenny Beaton was also recognized for his service to his country and to the Commonwealth by DDS and by Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (Worcester & Middlesex) and by Rep. Jon Zlotnik (2nd Worcester). Lenny was honored as both a veteran and a DDS employee. He has over 40 years of service with DDS starting as a service coordinator and moving up the ranks to Acting Assistant Area Director. He gave his service to this country during the Viet Nam Era having served in the United States Navy, SH 3rd Class from 1965-1969.
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