Volunteer Spotlight: Nicole Albert

Huot House Advisory Council

Huot House Advisory Council members (L-R) Don Lauzier, Nicole Albert, Mike Merrill, Pam Payeur, Susan Gold and Sallie Huot

The Huot House Advisory Council is an incredible professional group of passionate advocates for Veterans. They provide support to the operations and residents of the Huot House and its associated programs and activities in the form of outreach, events organization and assistance, fundraising, special donations and more. Council member Nicole Albert wants to spread the word.

"More people need to know about the challenges vets face and the incredible work being done in these programs..."

When she learned of Volunteers of America's Veterans Housing and Support Services, Council member Nicole Albert said, "I was so impressed with the programs, the facilities and staff. Mike Merrill, Program Manager for both the Huot House and the Veterans Career House has assembled a diverse and hardworking group of professionals in the private and non-profit sectors, including veterans and non-veterans, to serve on the Advisory Council." Nicole jumped right in.

She saw a place for herself at the Council table. "These folks all share the desire to do something to help our veterans who are going through tough times."

"Veterans and programs benefitting veterans have always had a special place in my heart."

Nicole is an attorney and non-profit professional. A couple of years back, she met and worked with Ray Inglesi, a member of the Council, who spoke about his service in the Army. Nicole told him of her great admiration for and gratitude to our veterans (her grandfather and uncles served during various wars and conflicts).

Stepping up to a challenge to bring one new person to the next Huot House Advisory Council meeting, Ray took the opportunity to invite Nicole join him. "I was Ray's "one" and have been a member ever since the first meeting I attended in November 2014." Nicole said.

From November 2014 until she moved to southern Maine in May 2015, she was commuting an hour and a half each way to the monthly Advisory Council meetings, "That's just how impressed I was." she added.

"From my interaction with the residents, at the regular meetings of the Advisory Council as well as at special events like the Ride for the Homes and the annual resident holiday party," she continued, "they are getting a boost at a time in their lives when it is truly needed, and it is really appreciated and used to advantage."

She speaks highly of the quality and dedication of the Veterans Services staff. "Mike, Brian and Ken are actively involved not only in the running of the Houses, but in making sure that the residents get the services they need, respect the other residents and the staff, obey the rules, and give back to the community when possible." Residents of the programs volunteer in the community, often during parades and other big events.

She added, "I try to spread the word as much as I can, but I think that greater exposure via social media and other online platforms, where almost everyone seems to get their news these days, would be useful."

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