2021 In Review
This past year proved to be quite a challenge. Regardless, we were able to accomplish much despite COVID hampering our efforts.
Based on the 31 veterans and/or veteran spouses served and the 350 plus Veterans Outreach Program treatment services processed at Coastal Horizons, it is apparent we are starting to make a measurable impact in our community. As we continue to connect with other veteran service-related organizations, we expect our impact will grow.
This past summer we met with Ms. Orion Lynn Mizrahi, a widow directly impacted by the veteran suicide crisis. Orion is a remarkable woman whose life was changed in an instant. She taught us much and, from what we learned, it became evident that the services we provide through our partner Coastal Horizons should be extended to our veterans’ immediate families. Thanks to Orion, any veteran’s spouse requiring mental health support can now access Coastal Horizon’s services with no out-of-pocket expense. Proof of the spouse’s military service is required.
As is normally the case, much time was spent raising awareness and making connections with local and national franchises we think can make a difference. We have written to several organizational leaders; some have graced us with a response and some have not. We are undeterred, however, and will continue to search for that entity willing to help. We thank Knights of Columbus, Wesleyan Men’s Club, Hampstead Marine Corps League, Veterans Business Collective, Brunswick Arts Council, Paddles With Battles, the University of North Carolina – Wilmington, WECT TV, and WWAY TV for giving us the opportunity to speak about the Veteran Suicide Crisis and to connect with local veterans.
With the help of the Brunswick Arts Council, we were able to establish a Veterans Visual Arts Program workshop in Brunswick County. The artwork produced by attending veterans was offered for purchase at our annual Artwork Can Save A Vet fundraiser. The workshop was very much enjoyed by the participants who have asked for a continuation and expansion of this program. The Arts Council has pledged its support in helping us with that effort. Due to COVID restrictions and other drawbacks, we were unable to establish workshops in New Hanover and Pender Counties. The Wilmington Council For The Arts and the Cameron Art Museum have pledged their support to create a workshop for the coming year. Regarding Pender County, Ellen Elder of Art Exposure in Hampstead has pledged her support as well.
Once again, Eclipse Artisan Boutique and Blue Moon Gift Shops have conducted a safe and successful Step Up For Vets fundraiser during September, suicide awareness and prevention month. A heartfelt thank you to Mary Ann Masucci, her managers, her staff, and her wonderful vendors for the continuing support they provide.
Our signature Veterans Day Artwork Can Save A Vet fundraiser featured contributions by local artists from Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender Counties offered at silent auction. Veteran artists were spotlighted during the event. The response from these artists was not only positive, it was overwhelming. A heartfelt thank you to all who contributed. For the first time ever, the event was held on the Battleship North Carolina, in conjunction with Wilmington’s Veterans Day Parade. Despite the rain, cold, wind and an unusual tide that flooded the parking lot, we managed to keep our heads above water and generate funds for the Veterans Outreach Program.