John Smith / WAER News

Talented Veterans from across Central New York received awards today in the Creative Arts local competition, and some could be advancing to the national level of the contest.  While the artists certainly take pride in their work, the creative process can be very therapeutic and healing.  Laurelle Kaley spent 20 years in the military before she retired in 2005.  She said the military gave her direction and support, and art filled that void when she left.

A Syracuse University Vice Chancellor told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that the federal government should do more to support military families … or it might limit future military service.   Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families Mike Haynie testified that failing to provide enough economic and educational assistance for military families is a threat to national security.

Bridget McAllister/WAER News

Nearly 30 Veterans with physical and psychological disabilities are learning skills this week at Syracuse University to successfully build and launch their own businesses.  The 11th annual Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities is offered through the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.   

Coordinator Elissa Gibbs says the mission of the program is to arm the men and women with the knowledge and support they need to get their business ideas off the ground.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Central New York veterans who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam have some powerful stories from their time in the military.  We’ve been hearing some of those stories this week after  the recent Honor Flight to Washington D.C. to visit to the memorials in their honor.  WAER's Scott Willis and Katie zilcosky tagged along.  In this final report in our series, they share some of the more moving stories they heard from veterans.

Here's who you'll meet:

Katie Zilcosky / WAER News

Seventy-eight Central New York veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam made a whirlwind trip to Washington D.C. this weekend on the ninth annual Syracuse honor flight.  WAER's Scott Willis and Katie Zilcosky had the honor of joining them and their guardians to visit key monuments and memorials.  

The veterans were warmly received everywhere they went…first as they arrived at Hancock airport before sunrise Saturday morning.      Hundreds more greeted them as they arrived at Reagan national airport in Washington, complete with a jazz band.             

Combat Flip Flops Homepage / Combat Flip Flops

Matthew Griffin had what anybody would consider a far fetched idea that didn’t draw a lot of support.

"Nobody was really going to lend us money to make flip flops in Afghanistan."

You read that right. He was in an army boot factory and had the idea for his company, Combat Flip Flops.  He’s expanded shoes to scarves, jewelry and other products, helping in ways connected to his military service.

Dan Hartman/

Volunteers and staff from the Central New York chapter of the American Red Cross and Contact Community Services hit the ground Wednesday to prevent suicide.

Jason Chen/WAER News

  After 72 years, a Central New York World War II veteran finally received a prisoner of war medal that’s long overdue. Congress member John Katko says Mr. Fay C. Bailey set a good example for younger soldiers.

Scott Willis / WAER News

More than 250 veterans and active members of the military gathered in Onondga Community College's SRC Arena Wednesday in hopes of networking, learning, and growing as entrepreneurs and business owners.  

  It was part of the Small Business Administration’s 9th annual Operation: Start Up and Grow Conference.

Five Ton Military Cargo Vehicle Gets New Purpose Helping Veterans

Mar 9, 2016

  A truck once used to transport supplies to combat areas will now deliver food and goodwill to veterans across Central New York.

A staffing agency is teaming up with local veterans organizations to supply food, furniture, and clothing to veterans. And they’re hand delivering these supplies in a five ton military cargo vehicle.

Owner of Express Employment Professionals John Calabrese says the truck isn’t only a handy storage area.  It’s also a symbol to honor veterans and raise awareness for the work of veteran organizations.