Mike Merrill Chosen For National Veterans Resource Squad

Michael Merrill, Manager of our Veterans' Services (third from right, middle row) was selected to represent VOA Northern New England as a member of the National Veterans Resource Squad (NVRS), a group of 17 affiliate employees who are also military veterans. NVRS met in person last week at Volunteers of America Los Angeles for squad training, knowledge sharing/brainstorming, and camaraderie (please enjoy attached photo!). The week included official Veteran Peer Support Specialist Training conducted by VA’s approved trainer (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) as well as  an introduction to VOA Los Angeles’ Battle Buddy Bridge (B3) program, which utilizes veteran peers as advocates and community resource navigators for other veterans struggling with the reintegration journey.  

The squad members came out of the training week with tremendous enthusiasm and desire to make a difference for veterans in their affiliate communities and for the Volunteers of America family as a whole. NVRS will be convening again in a couple of weeks via phone to define a specific mission for the coming year and discuss how best to utilize their skills as veteran peer support specialists as individuals and as a unit.

Caroline Meehan, MPP, Program & Research Manager, said, "Mike’s contributions are invaluable to this group, and we are looking forward to continuing to work with him to improve our programs and services for veterans and families in your community and across the country."

When asked about his time with the Squad, Michael wrote, "The networking opportunities were priceless and the cohesion and camaraderie developed unbelievable. We were able to work through personal matters that we didn’t even know existed as it pertains to trauma and peer support training and we all  bonded so quickly in such a short time that I feel that the affiliates represented there and the amazing big picture ideas and motivation we have towards helping Vets will not only impact our affiliate, their affiliates, VOA, but the nation as a whole!  I am truly honored, blessed, and privileged to have been chosen and to be in the company of such amazing people and pioneers!"

We are all proud of you, Mike!