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News and Events

News and information for the Tompkins County Veterans Community. For additional updates regarding the Coronavirus from the local, state, and federal levels, please check the links on our COVID-19 resources page.



Checked Box Tompkins County Virtual Veterans Resource Fair, Sept. 16, 2021
The Vet Center in Binghamton invites all Veterans and their families, along with professional organizations and community stakeholders, to attend the first Tompkins County Virtual Veterans Resource Fair.

Checked Box  Honor the POWs and Missing in Action at 30th Annual Watchfire, Sept. 17, 2021
Join Veterans, family, and friends as they honor the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action from U.S. military conflicts. The event is sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #377. 

Checked Box TCHD Reports Two COVID-19 Deaths of Fully Vaccinated County Residents
The Tompkins County Health Department mourns the loss of two residents to the continuing pandemic and shares that the spread of the variant of COVID-19 will continue to spread as the community reopens and people travel and gather in large numbers. 

Checked Box  Stand Down 2021, Sept. 22
Area Veterans are invited to "stand down" on Sept. 22. This drive-thru event, with a limited number of military surplus items, takes place at the American Legion Post 442 in Horseheads.

Checked Box Nam Express, October edition
Learn about the latest activities of Vietnam Veterans Chapter #377 including their fundraising and hands-on work to restore and improve the Eternal Flame Memorial in Cortland, NY, that's dedicated to Vietnam Veterans.


Checked Box  
Memorial Day in Tompkins
A collection of events happening around, or involving people living in, Tompkins County. The events are open to the public. Social distancing and face-mask protocols will be in effect. All in attendance are asked to observe as such.

Checked Box  In the News
Memorial Day news and Veterans-related information about Tompkins County and beyond. News updates include state and national honors for Cornell University's ROTC Brigade, the newly-designated cemetery in this region for New York's Veterans, the relevance of Memorial Day for President Biden, and two video tributes to our fallen service members amid current conflicts. 

Checked Box Legislative Update from Assemblywoman Anna Kelles
An update on legislation developed in Albany from our Assemblymember Kelles. This update include information on the states Emergency Rental Assistance Program, COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, legislation involving the hiring of people with disabilities, and a salute for Memorial Day 2021.



Checked Box  NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Fireside Chat, Feb. 4, 2021
Join this "Fireside Chat" at 6:30p on Thursday, Feb. 4, that focuses on "COVID-19 Vaccines: Taking a Closer Look." Panelists include physicians with the New York State Department of Health sharing insight on the state's commitment to breaking down barriers to vaccination and ensuring equitable vaccine distribution. Register on the Fireside Chat's sign-up page.

Checked Box  Sign up for "Mental Health First Aid for Veterans and Their Families"
Learn how you can help a Veteran or active military member who shows signs of a developing mental-health or substance-use concern. The course takes place Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, and requires completion of a two-hour online pre-training. Registration deadline is February 15, 2021. 

Checked Box  The COVID-19 Vaccine and You 
Topics collected by the VA to help answer questions regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine and the wait to a scheduled appointment with the VA. Topics include what Veterans can do now, what about mediations, and information regarding Veterans' family caregivers.

Checked Box  Concerned about Airborne Hazard Exposures?
Tips from the VA on understanding the effects of exposure to airborne hazards, such as burn pits in Southeast Asia, and how to monitor yourself while helping others.

Checked Box  VA seeks feedback to guide future vision of VA health care
In accordance with the MISSION Act, the VA is conducting market assessments for each of VA’s markets to design high-performing networks of care. Learn how you can provide feedback to the VA and help shape the future of the healthcare it provides.


Checked Box Today: 'Strengthening Systems and Bridging Gaps in Care'
Register for this Jan. 27 discussion from 2p to 3p to hear featured speakers explore the unique needs of military families in health care access and quality.

Checked Box  Today: New Assemblywoman Kelles holds Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccine 
Join newly elected Assemblywoman Anna Kelles on Jan. 27 when she hosts a forum focused on the COVID-19 vaccine and featuring local experts. This link also premieres Ms. Kelles' newsletter since taking office earlier this January. 

Checked Box Warrior Writers-Tompkins Assembles Thursday, Jan. 28
Warrior Writers-Tompkins come together again 1900-2100 on Thursday, Jan. 28. Veterans from any time of military conflict are welcome to participate in the virtual sessions via Zoom.

Checked Box  COVID-19 Vaccine Update: 600 Doses Allocated This Week, Prioritized for First Responders, Corrections Staff, and P-12 Schools
The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) received a total of 600 doses for the week of January 25 and will offer the available doses to first responder agencies, corrections staff, and workers in P-12 schools.

Checked Box  Tompkins County Health Department launches COVID-19 Vaccination Page
New Tompkins' Health Department web page provides its visitors links to updated information regarding eligibility, registration, FAQs, and other information related to the new vaccine and its deployment in Tompkins. 

Checked Box  COVID-19 Vaccine Information from the VA
General information regarding the VA's provisions of the COVID-19 vaccine including eligibility, basic information on getting the vaccine, and helpful resources. This page also offers an option to sign up for info updates.

Checked Box  NY Sen. Schumer announces $8B in New Health Benefits for Agent-Orange-exposed Vets
Sen. Chuck Schumer announced this month the inclusion of $8 billion in new benefits for Vietnam Veterans dealing with health issues on expanded presumptives list for Agent Orange exposure.

Checked Box NYS Division of Veterans' Services January's newsletter on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
New legislation, highlight of oldest Veteran and other news from the Deputy Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for the New York State Division of Veterans' Services.

Checked Box  Tompkins County COVID-19 Updated with Cayuga Health Systems
Jan. 6, 2021 COVID-19 Update from Tompkins County Government administration leaders and Cayuga Health System CEO Dr. Martin Stallone. This link goes to the Tompkins County Channel on YouTube.

Checked Box VVA's Nam Express - February 2021 edition
Find the latest news from our local chapter (#377) of the Vietnam Veterans of America. This edition contains a tribute by writer and Vet Harvey Baker to the chapter's 33-year history and highlights of recent activities including members' participation with Wreaths Across America.


Checked Box Early Bird Veterans Coffeehouse, 7:30a Nov. 5
For the early risers with reveille, join Team Red, White, Blue (RWB), the County's Department of Veterans Services and other Vets for the next virtual Veterans Coffeehouse. See flyer for Zoom info and BYOC (Bring Your Own Coffee -- or your drink of choice for 730a). 

Checked Box  Southern Tier Sitrep - Latest Edition
Catch up on and events from the Ithaca Chapter of Team RWB in their latest newsletter.

Checked Box  Clear Path Offers Delivery for Thanksgiving
Rather than let COVID cause the cancellation of their annual Thanksgiving meal, Clear Path for Veterans will offer Thanksgiving Meal Kits to eligible Veteran families in need. The organization also is seeking support from the greater public to help eligible Veterans and their families receive meal kits delivered to their doorsteps at no cost. 

Checked Box The Nam Expess
The official newsletter of Ch. 377 of the Vietnam Veterans of America reflects back on September, POW/MIA Watchfire events, the dedication of the Cayuga County Memorial, and more.


Checked Box  Veterans Coffeehouse Goes Live Again on Oct. 15 at Groton American Legion
Join Veterans from across Tompkins County 12-2pm Thursday at the twice-monthly Veterans Coffeehouse, co-sponsored by Team Red, White, Blue (RWB)-Ithaca and the Tompkins County Department of Veterans Services. This October session will be hosted by the American Legion's Carrington-Fuller Post 800 in Groton. COVID-19 precautions will be in place including social distancing and masks required. Lunch items will be available for purchase at the event.

Checked Box Share Comments Oct. 15 on Local Police Reform during County Administrator's Public Forum
Join Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino at 5pm on Thursday as he provides updates and solicits public comments regarding local policing reform. Mandated by New York State, this effort initiates a series of forums to request the public's assistance in creating next steps in  the police-reform process.

Checked Box Cornell Veterans join Ivy League Challenge for Veterans Day/USMC Birthday Fundraiser
Support Cornell sophomore and USMC Veteran Michael Sanchez and other local college Veterans during the Ivy League Veterans Council Veterans Day Run/Walk 2020. Funds raised support Semper Fi & America's Fund, which provides urgently needed resources and support for combat wounded, critically ill, and catastrophically injured members of the armed forces and their families.

Checked Box Social Security Announces COLA Increase for 2021
Recipients of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will see an increase in benefits of 1.3 percent, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday, Oct. 14.  

Checked Box Assemblywoman Lifton Shares Updates to Voting News for November General Election
In her monthly newsletter, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (125th District) provides information to readers regarding voter registration, voting absentee, and other related news in advance of Super Tuesday.   



Checked Box Video honors Local Vietnam War Veterans during POW/MIA Recognition Day
Members from Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 377, shared their stories through the voices of local Veterans and military community members in a video created as a great alternative to the annual watchfire honoring POW/MIA Recognition Day. Team Red, White, Blue (RWB)-Ithaca premiered the video during the Sept. 24 session of the Veterans Coffeehouse, held that day in the Dryden Veterans Hall.

Checked Box Join fellow Veterans for Early-Morning Muster with BYOC (Coffee), Sept. 3
The next Veterans Coffeehouse will be 0730-0900 on Thursday, Sept. 3. Join fellow Veterans, virtually, from across the county in the comfort of your own.

Checked Box Call-to-Action: Honor POW/MIA Recognition Day with own Watchfire Observance
Tompkins County's Department of Veterans Services and Team RWB-Ithaca join Vietnam Veterans of America Ch. 377 in calling for County Veterans and residents to have small gatherings as they honor POW/MIA Recognition Day on Sept. 18. They're also requesting pictures or short videos of those private observances be sent in for inclusion in an image album showing how Tompkins honors the memories of its Prisoner-of-War/Missing In Action Veterans. 

Checked Box Public Health Director: Community Vigilance Needed to Combat COVID-19 
Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County Public Health Director, releases public statement appealing to all county residents in fight to turn back the coronavirus. 

Checked Box Veterans Advocate Support for Harder-Tester Amendment for Additional Exposure Presumptives
National Veterans organizations want more people to call their Congressional representative to support the passage of an amendment that would add bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinson's-like symptoms to the list of presumptives for Agent Orange exposure.

Checked Box Warrior Writers Resume Sept. 10
Warrior Writers-Tompkins come together again 1900-2100 on Thursday, Sept. 10. Veterans from any time of military conflict are welcome to participate in the virtual sessions via Zoom.

Checked Box 5K Ruck March on Sept. 26 Brings Awareness to Veteran Suicide
Calling attention to the 22 suicides committed daily by Veterans across our nation, the Tioga County Veterans' Service Agency will sponsor "For Them -- Stop 22 Ruck March." A backpack/ruck with 22 lbs of gear inside is requested.

Checked Box Assemblywoman Lifton's Updates from Albany
NYS Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, who's district includes Tompkins and Cortland counties, offers updates on numerous items including federal aid, unemployment insurance, the US Post Office, COVID-19 resources and more.

Checked Box VVA September's Nam Express
Chapter 377 of the Vietnam Veterans of America provide info to members and readers in highlighting events from August 2020.

Checked Box Scholarship for Veterans: From Military to Math Teacher
Mercy College, located downstate New York, is offering an opportunity for military Veterans an Reservists to earn a Master's degree -- tuition-free -- and become a math teacher. The "Veterans to Math Teachers" Scholarship Program is offered through the National Science Foundation. More information can also be found on YouTube.

Checked Box Team RWB-Ithaca's August Newsletter
Updates on activities of Team Red, White, & Blue (RWB) in and around Tompkins including the Virtual Wineglass 8K, their calendar of events for September, and updates for the office of the Tompkins County Department of Veterans Services.



Checked Box Veterans Join Veterans Thursday for online Coffeehouse
Join members of Team RWB and the County’s Department of Veterans Services during this next virtual session of the Veterans Coffeehouse. Log on via Zoom between 12p and 1:30p this Thursday, Aug. 20, to talk about upcoming events, concerns, and services offered for Tompkins’ military Veterans.

Checked Box FreshConnect Checks Offered for Veterans and Their Families
The New York State Division of Veterans’ Services is offering FreshConnect checks to veterans, active duty service members, and their immediate family members, as well as un-remarried surviving spouses of veterans. The voucher program gives each recipient a booklet of FreshConnect checks worth a total of $20 for fresh produce and other food items at participating farmers’ markets and farm stands across Tompkins County.

Checked Box  Women's Opportunity Center Virtual Panel: Your Voice, Your Vote, Your Power
As the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, the “Your Voice, Your Vote, Your Power” panel will discuss the women who made it possible and how it translates to the upcoming 2020 election.  At 6p on Wednesday, August 26, panelists include influential female leaders from the region: NYS Senator Rachel May, Deputy Mayor of Syracuse Sharon Owens, Historian Sue Boland and a representative from the Tompkins County League of Women Voters. 
Register for the event:

Checked Box  Cornell Seeking Veterans for Entry-level Positions
Cornell University Dining is looking to hire military Veterans and other individuals for part-time, casual-employee positions on its Ithaca campus. With the current hiring freeze on the university’s campus, this non-benefits opportunity presents a solid way to get started with a Cornell career. Cornell Dining regularly looks to hire individuals for regular full-time positions from this group of employees.

Find more information and link to apply online:


MAY 2020

  Gov. Cuomo Announces Guidelines for Memorial Day Gatherings

As New York State enters Phase I of re-emerging from the COVID-19 shutdown, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced guidelines and suggestions for gathering this Memorial Day weekend.

  Remember to be Counted this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation. This Monday, May 25, is also a chance for all Veterans to make sure they and their families are counted in the 2020 Census. An accurate headcount of everyone in Tompkins County can help determine how much gets received of $675 billion in federal funds.

  Two Chances for Veterans to Connect with Veterans

This Thursday and next -- May 21 and May 28 -- the County's Department of Veterans Services invites Veterans across Tompkins County to hop on Zoom and meet other Veterans via the following upcoming events:
  -- The next session of the Veterans Coffeehouse, co-sponsored with Team RWB, will be 12p-2p this Thursday, May, 21. Meet other Veterans, learn about tips to deal the COVID-19 quarantine, and even pick up a new recipe or two. Find log-in information with Zoom included on the coffeehouse's flyer.
 --   Warrior Writers meets 7-9p on Thursday, May 28. Come join Vets from various eras of conflict and hone your writing or journaling skills to help tell your personal story. Send an e-mail to for log-in information.

  Assemblywoman Lifton Shares Updates on NYS Phased Re-Opening

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton provides information about the state "PAUSE" and the start of re-opening the state while we all continue to deal with the presence of COVID-19.

  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Celebrates Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage
Celebrate and follow this month's activities and the VA and more celebrate the heritage and contributions of the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

  Tompkins County Officials to Visit Veterans in Virtual Coffeehouse, May 7
Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino and County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa will visit this Thursday's virtual Veterans Coffeehouse and field questions from Tompkins' Veterans community about the continued response to COVID-19. Directives of change come down almost daily from the state and federal governments that the County must react to. These gentlemen accepted the invitation to share some of this latest news this Thursday, May 7. The Veterans Coffeehouse is co-sponsored by Team Red, White, and Blue (Team RWB) and the Tompkins County Department of Veterans Services. This session takes place between 7:30a and 9a via Zoom. The Coffeehouse offers the chance to meet or reconnect with other Vets and exchange info about relevant resources. Login information for this session is listed on the coffeehouse flyer.

  Access Veterans Numbers Through the Census

At 11a on Wednesday, May 6, the U.S. Census Bureau will share information about Veterans numbers in the communities. Access through this headline.

  Checklist for Self Care During COVID-19 Quarantine

Find great tips for taking care of yourself and family at this link. U.S. Navy Veteran Beth Golden, licensed therapist and Team RWB member, shared this list for area Veterans and their communities during this time of social distancing and staying home. 


APRIL 2020

  Veterans Invited to Connect at April 30 Virtual Coffeehouse

Team Red, White, and Blue (Team RWB) and the Tompkins County Department of Veterans Services invite Veterans across Tompkins County to drop in anytime between 7:30 and 9a on Thursday, April 30. The Coffeehouse is via Zoom and offers Veterans the chance to reconnect with other Vets, meet new ones, and exchange info about relevant resources. Login information listed on the coffeehouse's flyer

  New Filing Deadline of May 5 for Veterans with Dependents Who Missed Stimulus

The Military Times reports that the IRS reset May 5 as the new deadline for Veterans with Dependents to file for the COVID-19 Stimulus checks. The IRS also added a warning for inaction.

  Assemblywoman Lifton's Earth Day and COVID-19 Updates

News from Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton on happenings from Albany for the 125th District and updates on local impacts and resources. This update includes information on pending legislation, unemployment insurance and federal aid, use-of-masks mandate, voting by mail, and other information regarding the fight against the Coronavirus.

 Connecting Veterans across Tompkins

Two upcoming events offer area Veterans the chance to connect with other Vets, share stories and situations, and learn about other Vet-specific news. Due to "social distancing" practices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, both events will be held via online platforms or simply by calling in.

  • The Veterans Coffeehouse, 12-2p Thursday, April 16, 2020

  • Finger Lakes Warrior Writers. 7-9p Thursday, April 23, 2020 

 Veteran Coffeehouse goes "Virtual"

COVID-19 is keeping everyone inside to stay safe but Team RWB and Tompkins County Department of Veterans Services still want our community of Veterans to find a way to gather. Thanks to Zoom technology, all in our community of Veterans are invited to gather online 7:30-9:30a this Thursday, April 2, for the next Veterans Coffeehouse. To join us go to, then enter the Meeting ID on the flyer linked to this headline, or just dial the phone number also on the flyer. 



  Census Staff to Talk Jobs for Veterans at Feb. 20 Veterans' Coffeehouse

Staff members with U.S. Census 2020 will talk about job options for Veterans at the next Veterans' Coffeehouse, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.  Members of the Kiwanis Club of Ithaca also will be onhand in support of area Veterans. This event is co-sponsored by Team RWB and Tompkins County Department of Veterans Services. It takes place monthly on the third Thursday.

  Resource Fair for Cortland-area Veterans on Feb. 20

Congressman Anthony Brindisi and staff will host a resource fair for the Cortland area.

  Sign up for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway of Valor Tribute Ride

Join members of area chapters of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and Blue Knights for their annual memorial 100-mile ride on July 11, 2020. The ride honors Medal of Honor Recipients Terrence Graves, USMC 2nd LT, and Robert F. Stryker, USA SP4.

 VA $243 billion budget request strengthens care and benefits for Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposed a 10.2% increase for Fiscal Year 2021 to provide Veterans with high-quality health care and timely access to benefits and services.


  Tompkins COFA Seeks Nominations for Annual Recognition

The Tompkins County Office for the Aging is now accepting nominations for volunteers who have made significant contributions to the community through civic engagement.

 Gov. Cuomo Announces Aid for Veterans Issues

NYS Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed funding to help address Veteran homelessness, education, and suicide prevention efforts in his 2020 State of the State Address.

 Honoring Dr. King at GIAC Annual Community Breakfast Jan. 18

The Greater Ithaca Activities Center host its annual community breakfast 9-11a with ICSD Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown as guest speaker.

 Tompkins' Warrior Writers meets Jan. 16
The Warrior Writers group will meet Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, to review prior and new writing projects. 

 Veterans Coffeehouse to be Jan. 16

Team RWB invites all Veterans in Tompkins County to its next Veterans Coffeehouse on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020.


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