UNH Expands Support for N.H. Veterans Thanks to Woodruff Foundation Grant

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

DURHAM, N.H. – A grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation will allow Northeast Passage (NEP) at the University of New Hampshire to meet the needs of post 9/11 injured service members and veterans in the Granite State with the hiring of two additional therapists, including one who served four years in the Marine Corps.

“We have not been able to meet the need in New Hampshire,” said Jill Gravink, director of NEP. “Our work with veterans who experience disabilities is growing and developing. With this grant, we can continue to increase the number of veterans served and not turn anyone away. Our goal is to roll this program out nationally, but first we need to meet the need right here. Now we can.”

NEP has been working with veterans for more than 10 years, relying on a variety of funding sources, including the state and national Veteran’s Administration, to help veterans from any era with any disability. Last year 450 veterans from New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine were served, and 120 of those participated in NEP’s PATH (Promoting Access, Transition and Health) program.  

Michael Bassett is one of the two new therapists who work one-on-one with veterans around the state as part of the PATH program. “There are a lot of programs that provide veterans with free stuff and glamorous trips but those don’t address their long-term needs,” he said. “We’re showing them what they can do today, tomorrow and in the days after that. It’s sustainable and transferable. Real world, real time problem solving. We help them find home, health and happiness.”

New Hampshire has the fifth largest population of veterans per capita. More than 2.2 million service people have been deployed since 9/11 and about 500,000 of them transition to civilian life each year.

Cathy Thompson, director of the PATH program, noted that NEP provides a continuum of services for disabled veterans that allows them to get the help they need in a healthy and safe environment where their disability and past experiences are understood.

“In the PATH program, we work with people for up to a year,” she said. “It’s a progression, changing behavior is never easy, but working with people for that length of time helps veterans with disabilities reestablish habits of engaging in recreation and their communities that supports a sense of meaning and purpose and reignites their passion for life.”  

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $35 million to find, fund and shape programs that have empowered more than 2.5 million impacted veterans, service members and their families. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.