First disabled American veterans chapter coming to Northeast CT

The UConn Veteran's Affairs office is located on the third floor of Arjona. The office helps veterans adjust to University life and provides a community of support.  (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

One of the first in Disabled American Veterans chapters in the area is coming to the Northeast corner of Connecticut.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that there are over 26,000 disabled veterans in Connecticut, and there are quite a few in the Windham county area,” said State Vice Commander Donald Sweeney. “There have been a lot of inquiries about a chapter in the Northeast corner, but no chapter yet.”

Sweeney said there are 17 chapters in Connecticut. He said there are disabled veterans in the Windham, Willimantic and Ashford areas, but they had to commute to the Hartford chapter in the past.

“Those veterans commute a few times, and then stop going to the Hartford meetings,” Sweeney said. “We want to help other veterans.”

Sweeney hopes that disabled veterans around the University of Connecticut area will be interested in joining the new chapter. About 30 or 40 veterans have already expressed interest in the new group. Meetings might be held in Windham, Willimantic or Ashford. The meetings are usually held in public buildings.

“Towns are usually very helpful in finding us a space to meet and work,” Sweeney said.

The Disabled American Veterans groups work to educate and distribute benefits that are available to disabled veterans. They also increase veteran legislative rights on the state or national level. The chapters usually meet once a month.

The nonprofit organization does not earn federal or state federal funding, but relies on donations and dues.

“We are a grassroots organization,” Sweeney said. “We always have been.”

Current chapters include Stamford, Milford, Danbury, New Haven, Derby, Shelton, Meriden, Bristol, Middletown, New Britain and Norwich.

For more information or to be involved in the new chapter, contact Donald Sweeney at 203-915-9911 or Senior Vice Commander Mark Rivard at 860-429-0303.


Claire Galvin  is a contributor to The Daily Campus Life section.   He can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.