MARQUETTE - For the first time ever, the Negaunee Senior Citizens Center is hosting a Senior Veteran Expo, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday.
The expo is planned to fill a need, said Kristy Basolo, senior center coordinator.
"The motivation behind this is I attend a lot of meetings with senior service providers and we talk about veterans services," she said. "There are many programs to help veterans but we don't have an umbrella agency to help veterans know what's out there so sometimes there's a disconnect.
A number of service providers for veterans are expected to attend an upcoming Senior Veteran Expo at the Negaunee Senior Citizens Center.
"We wanted to have a day when everything is all under one roof."
The planners decided this month would be perfect for the event with Veterans Day coming up soon. And many groups and agencies were happy to sign up to take part.
The local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America will provide a color guard for opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. and to close the day's activities at 2 p.m.
In between, much information will be available.
More than 15 booths with information from veteran service providers from around the area will be set up at the center, which is at 410 Jackson St. in downtown Negaunee.
"We have had food donated to us, so we're trying to get a count of veterans who want to have lunch as part of the day," Basolo said.
Those who want to take part in the free lunch must RSVP by 4 p.m. Friday by calling the center at 475-6266.
"We want to make sure we have enough food," Basolo said.
She emphasized the event is open to all Marquette County senior veterans, not just those who live in Negaunee.
"The booths are going to be able to provide information for veterans who live in Marquette County," she said.
This being the first time the event will take place, organizers are not sure how many veterans will sign up.
"We believe whatever the number, this was something important we could do for veterans," she said. "It's a growing concern in our country. We have more and more veterans of wars now. But we cannot overlook those who have already served. Many of them don't know what's available out there to help them with the things they struggle with.
"For instance guys with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) have terrible things they deal with," Basolo said. "There is relief for them. There is help for them."
Center Social Worker Lindsay Juricek said booths will feature a range of people and organizations.
"This is the first one and we're all pretty excited about it," Juricek said.
The vendors for the event include the American Red Cross; the Disabled American Veterans; the American Legion Post of Marquette; the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary; the Negaunee Post 3165 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and its auxiliary; the Jacobetti Home for Veterans; Vietnam Veterans of America; Catholic Social Services; Warrior Relief; Escanaba Veterans Center; Buddy for Buddy volunteers; the Michigan Secretary of State (veterans license plates); the suicide prevention center from the Veterans Administration; the Veterans Administration Medical Clinic in Marquette; Michigan Works; and the Oscar G. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center.
For more information on the Senior Veteran Expo in Negaunee, call the center at 475-6266.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.