Today I finished writing about the South-East region. I was surprised with the results. I felt that the two best South-East states in the region were Tennessee and Louisiana when it came to veteran’s benefits. This is because they not only had the broadest benefits that included the most veterans but because both of these states had programs that granted civilian certifications for a veteran’s previous military qualifications. Programs like this, I believe, truly help veterans make a smooth transition from the active duty military to civilian life.
Beginning this section, I would have thought Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida would have been the best states. This is because they are the most populous and wealthiest states in the region. In addition, there are many active-duty military basis in all three of these states compared to the rest of region. As stated above, I do not believe that these three states performed as well as Louisiana and Tennessee.
Overall, however, I believe that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the best state for veterans benefits when compared to the South-East because Massachusetts truly excels in some of the categories where the other states are only starting to have programs. These areas include: (1) Women Veterans; and (2) Reintegration Services. Massachusetts continues to outperform every state in access to veteran’s benefits because of the 351 Massachusetts Veteran Service Officers (VSOs) who have offices in every city and town in the Commonwealth.
Today was also the last scheduled Rappaport programming event. At 4:00pm I met the other Rappaport Center Fellows at Rosie’s Place, a shelter for abused and homeless women. From 4:00pm to 7:30pm all of the fellows, and acting director Mia Friedman, helped the full time staff make a home-cooked dinner for over forty women. From cooking twenty pounds of chicken to hundreds of vegetables all of us were whirling around the kitchen as we rushed to make the dinner deadline of 6pm. After making the meal, we helped serve the women who had come to the shelter for dinner. We had made enough food for people to have seconds and thirds and for us to have dinner as well.
It was a wonderful experience and a great way to serve the community. I would love to volunteer there again.