“At the time, I was employed as [Veterans] Prevention Coordinator at Healthy Androscoggin in Lewiston working for AmeriCorps VetCorps and CADCA: Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America as a VISTA volunteer,” said Smith, who is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “Our mission is to honor, to inspire, to recognize and serve.

“MVCSP works to recognize veterans who make a difference in the state, to inspire veterans to engage in community service, education and advocacy, and to build a community that honors the sacrifice and service of the American military,” said Smith. “Our goal is to empower people to live healthy lifestyles and to improve the public health of the communities around us.”

The MVCSP is highly visible through a Facebook page that cites veterans’ accomplishments and the impact of their community service in the state.

Recent postings cover a wide range of projects and recognition.

One post honors Rich Oberg a U.S. Navy veteran who works at the Career Center in Augusta with disabled veterans seeking employment. He also serves as a volunteer working to end homelessness experienced by veterans.

Another post cites Erik Noll, from the Vet Center in Lewiston, as “a remarkable veteran who always looks out for the welfare of our military, veterans and their families.” It goes on to say that he was nominated for an award from his staff and members of the local community for his work for veterans.

An adjoining post recognizes Brian Strouse, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who serves as president of the Student Veterans Association at the University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn campus. “He plays a vital role in uplifting the community by connecting student veterans and their families to services through advocacy, education, volunteer activities, outreach and community planning.”

Well known for his work for veterans, there’s a photo posted of Jerry DeWitt, a Tri-County Mental Health Services VISTA volunteer being honored as “Humanitarian of the Year” by the American Legion.

The Facebook page continues with listings of events and organizations that benefit veterans including Run for the Fallen, a Wilderness Walk for Warriors, a Day of Caring for the United Way, and The Summit Project, among dozens of others.

And one post is simply a video of Jim Merrill, a Vietnam veteran from Auburn, singing an original ballad called “Peace.”

“By engaging in community service, many Maine veterans feel a sense of purpose, accomplishment and connection by contributing to society. Many believe it is a duty and obligation to lead by example and look out for the welfare of others,” noted Smith. “They serve in many communities by providing volunteer support to those struggling with depression, homelessness, suicide, joblessness, hunger, poverty, loss and access to basic needs.”

Smith served in the United States Marine Corps from 2006 to 2012 where her military occupation specialty was military police, corrections and investigations. She ended her enlistment honorably as a sergeant and she is an Afghanistan Campaign (Operation Enduring Freedom) combat veteran. She currently serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery as a Master-at-Arms (military police).

Smith is particularly proud of the response to MVCSP. She said that the organization has established a board of directors and has 350 members from across the state. Future plans include creating an official website for the organization.

“We may become an official non-profit as we expand the number of military, veterans and their families engaged in community service and volunteer opportunities,” added Smith, proud that the project was founded in Lewiston and is a vital part of the statewide network of services for veterans.

For more information on Maine Veterans Community Service Projects, visit www.facebook.com/MaineveteransCSP .


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