Military veterans who want to address their concerns with state officials will get their chance in April, as Operation Veterans plans to host a meeting with state Veterans Affairs representatives in Ogdensburg.
Veterans Affairs Counsel Samuel L. Spitzberg and representative Todd Rosenfield are expected to stay up to two days in the north country, touring areas such as the veterans plot in the Ogdensburgh Cemetery and the Pritchard Building at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, the Ogdensburg veterans groups preferred site for a new veterans hospital.
The tour will be an opportunity for veterans to talk to officials about veterans needs such as providing closer medical services, Operation Veterans Chairman Joseph M. Cosentino said.
They want to see veterans concerns down on paper, signed, Mr. Cosentino said. They need to hear them straight from veterans. They dont just want me to list them.
To build support at the meeting, the group is organizing a letter writing campaign, building on their website and designing a group logo in the coming weeks, member Susan J. Rupert said.
Mr. Cosentino is currently looking at a venue in Ogdensburg to house all the people for the meeting.
We would like to invite people from seven surrounding counties to attend, Mr. Cosentino said. We have over 27 veterans groups in the (St. Lawrence) county. Combined with the other seven counties, thats a lot of people who could potentially have an interest in this.
The veterans group said it would also invite U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, U.S. Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, state Sens. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, and Patricia A. Ritchie R-Heuvelton, and Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa.
In order to move forward with their plans, the veterans group is awaiting word from Mr. Spitzberg and Mr. Rosenfields office on an agreed date to meet. Mr. Cosentino said he expects a call back from them Monday.
We are in limbo until then, Mr. Cosentino said. But all in all, they seem really interested in what we have to say and what we have going on.