PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - It's known to most people as an agency that provides rehabilitation services to children and adults with disabilities, injuries and other special needs. Now Easter Seals Maine is taking on a new mission -- supporting military members and their families.
Before Richard Mariello, an Army reserve specialist deployed with his New Hampshire based army reserve unit to Afghanistan -- he signed up with the Easter Seal's Veteran's Service program. When problems came up at home while he was overseas, an Easter Seals 'Care Coordinator' connected his wife with programs and financial assistance.
Officials are in the process of launching a Military Veteran Service program here in Maine. Gail Wilkerson is the Executive Director of Easter Seals Maine. She says the state has the second largest population of veterans in the county, more than 130-thousand. But there is only a patchwork of programs to support veterans and their families and many are falling through the cracks.
'We received a call from a family who was two months behind on their rent, their landlord was about to evict them but we were able to provide them with some emergency financial assistance,' said Gail Wilkerson, Executive Director of Easter Seals Maine.
Former secretary of state and Navy veteran, Charlie Summers is the program's director. He says it could serve as a clearing house to help returning veterans and their families navigate a very complex system.
Maine Easter Seals is hosting a Veterans Gala on November 15th at the Marriott Sable Oaks in South Portland. The event will be held from 5:30-8:30. Veterans and their families are encouraged attend. If you would like more information about the event and the Easter Seals Military Veterans Service program, you can go to www.eastersealsme.org or call 828-0754.