One-of-a-kind center for active military, veterans opens in Norwich

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) – The Veterans Rally Point has opened in Norwich. It’s one-stop shopping for services for veterans.

They have everything from employment help, behavioral health, to peer services. There is also a huge fitness gym and maker space. The services are available to veterans and active-duty military for their families for free.

“The yellow one’s a little more difficult and the green are the most difficult,” said Retired Brigadier General Ron Welch who showed News8 the rock wall in the fitness center at the brand new Veterans Rally Point. That is one activity allowing veterans to challenge their minds and body.

“One-stop shop center of excellence,” said Welch who is the Vice President of Military Services & Economic Development for the Veterans Rally Point.

In 2018 the state awarded Easter Seals a $2.5-million grant to build a center for veterans services.

“If you’re a veteran or military family we want you to know you’re just one step away from getting whatever it is that you need when you find us,” said Robin Sharp, Pres. & CEO Easter Seals Capital Region/Eastern CT Region.

You can find this 18-thousand square foot facility on Stott Avenue in Norwich. 

“The holiday season Christmas came early yesterday,” said Welch.

Lowe’s donated several tools to the maker space woodshop and pottery studio. 

“It will be a game-changer for a lot of veterans and family members that’s come in here and again creative spirit engaging the minds and their hands to create a project,” said Welch.

There’s also a big fitness center and several services to help veterans find jobs and get behavioral health help. They can connect with clinicians virtually in a private room.

“If we notice that someone is struggling a little bit or they come to us and ask us for help we can contact this company it’s called Forge VFR and VFR is Veterans First Responders,” said Welch.

A veterans coffee house and other activities help veterans of different generations and conflicts connect with each other.

“What it’s done is allowed our Vietnam veterans a chance to actually open up and start talking about some the things they went through long ago,” said (Fmr) CPT Lori Marriott, the Senior Director of Military & Family Programs at the Veterans Rally Point.

“One person can help another person, can help another person, and it just magnifies and we can all help each other,” said Veteran Jim Reed. “This is perfect for that.”

There is also a clothes closet if a veteran needs something to wear to a job interview or just to keep warm and in the room next door there is a food pantry.

The services are all free and open to veterans, active-duty military, and their families. 

“Our message is that nobody’s alone,” said Welch.

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