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Veterans Helping Veterans launch party gets postponed Around The Park
Maryland Gazette - 3/28/2020
Preparations were nearing completion for Partners In Care's "Veterans Helping Veterans" launch party for early April at the Severna Park Elks Lodge. But, with coronavirus causing a national emergency, the party simply couldn't go forward.
Nevertheless, organizer Sharon Zentgraf tells The Capital the program is moving ahead. Zentgraf and her committee of ex-military volunteers created Veterans Helping Veterans program to match vets with already existing services and volunteer opportunities and provide specially designed services, activities and social get-togethers.
Included are free or low-cost transportation, handyman services, occasional visits or phone calls, social networking support, a PIC Boutique veteran's discount, and interesting activities, educational events and speakers.
"The launch party is one of many things Partners In Care had to shift," Zentgraf said. "We'll reschedule the event at the Elks Lodge as soon as there's an 'all clear' and we can set a new date."
She added that PIC's many former military volunteers completely understand the situation and are pleased plans for the program they helped conceive are coming to fruition.
For 10 years, Zentrgaf has been Partners In Care's Director of Member Care and she's well suited to stand up a program designed specifically for veterans. She comes from a family of current and former service members including her father, uncles, brother, husband and brothers-in-law plus a nephew who just joined the United States Marine Corps.
"It's part of my blood and I understand military families very well," she said.
Since Partners In Care - the nonprofit based on "seniors helping seniors" - depends on broad participation by volunteers over 50, Zentgraf wasn't surprised to learn the number of male and female volunteers who are veterans now exceeds 200.
By way of thanking them, PIC's staff and volunteers began organizing Veterans Day luncheons. Surveys taken at the popular lunches revealed that an overwhelming number of veterans attending wanted to have more contact with one another. Army veterans John Wise, Jr. and John Salewski, who are drivers for PIC's Mobility Bus Program, were all for the idea and hoped to attract many new vets.
They realize veterans are slow to initiate social contact and reluctant to ask for help. But they react well to other veterans with whom they feel a common bond. The opportunity to share experiences or have an outlet to discuss problems like PTSD with someone who truly understands is invaluable.
Executive Director Mandy Arnold, whose son was a Marine, said she feels the program will be unbelievably helpful.
"It'll provide veterans a focus - things to do, people to meet and places to go," she said.
Communications Specialist Jessica Lewis noted that PIC operations continue apace though the organization is temporarily unable to offer rides and the Upscale Resale Boutique is closed. Postponed events like the much anticipated "Purse Bingo" evening at the Elks Club will be rescheduled. For new dates, see https://www.partnersincare.org/.
Severna Park residents are surviving the coronavirus crisis as best they can while trying to support local businesses. By driving around and consulting up-to-date listings on the Greater Severna Park & Arnold Chamber Facebook page, we discovered many area restaurants are open for take-out or curbside delivery.
Among others are Adam's Taphouse and Grille, Vida Taco Bar, La Posta, Squisito Pizza and Jeno's Steaks in Olde Severna Park. There's Ledo Pizza, Sullivan's Cove, Mi Pueblo and Park Tavern at Park Plaza and additional eateries up and down Ritchie Highway.
Fast food operations, coffee shops like Starbuck's and places like Einstein Bros. Bagels with drive-through windows are operating smoothly. Check the chamber's listings at https://www.facebook.com/GSPAChamber/ for any changes. The chamber also is helpful answering questions small business owners may have by email at email@example.com.
While local churches are streaming live services, neighborhood charities SPAN, Inc. and ACAN (Asbury Church Assistance Network) continue to offer charitable assistance.
Co-director Ellen Kinsella said SPAN's offices at 400 Benfield Road are open Monday and Thursday from 10-12 p.m. They're continually filling a storage bin behind the building (on the gravel driveway) with nonperishable foods and limited toiletries. The bin is available to anyone who needs it. Those with non-food emergencies can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACAN's executive director Janet Pack said the office and food pantry behind Asbury Town Neck United Methodist Church at 429 Asbury Drive are open Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with plenty food on hand. Thanks to generous donations, they still have bread, milk and eggs. They're trying to help as many people as possible, particularly seniors. For details, visit https://www.asburytownneck.org/acan or call 443-763-1120.
Among bright spots, Severna Park High junior and blossoming clothing designer Ellie Heath sewed numerous coronavirus masks to mail overseas to Germany where friends reported shortages.
Donut Shack and Blended Essentials delivered donuts and aromatherapy shower items to nurses, doctors, techs, clerks, and housekeeping staff in the ICUs and ORs at University of Maryland Medical Center/Shock Trauma.
Email your Severna Park news to Sharon Lee Tegler at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook @SharonLeeSays.
Caption: Flanking PIC's executive director Mandy Arnold are Navy veteran Henry Holland, from left, and Army veterans John Wise, Jr., and John Salewski who are drivers for the organization.
Sharon Lee Tegler/Capital Gazette