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National Guard to host veterans event in Framingham

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  February 2, 2012 11:51 AM

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The National Guard will hold a Yellow Ribbon event this Saturday for military personnel who are soon deploying to, or just arrived back from, the war in the Middle East.

Newton-based American Consumer Credit Counseling will provide financial counseling and resources to the service members at the Framingham Sheraton Hotel.

The event is mandatory as part of the deployment cycle for about 260 local active military soldiers, and is closed to the general public, said Suzanne Katz, American Consumer Credit Counseling educator and outreach coordinator.

She said the event serves to familiarize soldiers with services offered to veterans, and to reacquaint military personnel coming back from war - "mind, body, and spirit."

Katz said the unemployment rate for veterans hovers at approximately 13.1 percent, higher than the national average of 8.5 percent, according to latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Katz said the Yellow Ribbon event will come especially in handy now, as the military budget is cut and contractors are let go.

"I have a lot of people who say thank you," Katz said, referring to soldiers she has educated in the past two years. "I have people who are able to get back on their feet on their own, instead of declaring bankruptcy."

She said the Massachusetts Yellow Ribbon team is the largest in the country, with multiple organizations coming together to support soldiers deploying overseas.

"They're willing to put their lives down. The least we can do is support their efforts and make sure they're taken care of when they're gone," Katz said.

The organization specifically helps educate servicemen and women on understanding personal budgets, credit reports, and building credit scores, she said.

"There are a lot of kids who don’t know what credit is all about, so I show them how to do that," Katz said.

She said there will also be other vendors and service providers to help soldiers relax with Tai Chi lessons and acupuncture sessions, while other organizations help them acclimate to post-war life.

"They learn about their benefits, and that in Massachusetts, they can go to school for free," Katz said, citing GI Bill benefits. "There are people there to help them with jobs, starting a business, or helping them keep their businesses going while gone... It's pretty amazing, the people who come together for this event."

The event will begin at 9 a.m. and last throughout the day, until about 4 p.m.

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