Though it's still in its infancy, the newly established Dryden VET Team has already made quite an impact on veterans organizations around the area. And that impact has helped the all-volunteer student group accomplish its goal: to make sure no veteran goes without, to honor their service and sacrifices, and to show respect, appreciation and gratitude for those who've served.
An acronym for 'Veterans Esteem Team,' siblings Abigail and Benjamin Koning formed the group when they heard some alarming statistics relating to veterans and suicide. In a July, 2016 report, the Veterans Administration cited that every single day some 20 veterans take their own lives. A majority of them—70 percent—were not regular users of VA services. To bridge the gap, the Konings set out to make a change. And they have. They've distributed goods to area veterans homes, and hosted a special VET dinner for local veterans and their spouses and/or significant others.
They've also caught the eye—and wallets—of area civic organizations, who've helped boost the young organization by generous financial contributions. Recently, the Imlay City Eagles and the 40 et 8 Veterans group of Lapeer gave cash donations to the VET. Last year, the Imlay City Lions Club stepped up with a $300 contribution, and area veterans have helped the VET youths raise awareness by marching along side of them in summer festival parades.
In the short time that VET has existed, the young group of young people has already made a big impression and impact in the area. As always, the overwhelming support demonstrated by local civic groups, business owners and residents is second to none. These donors offer more than financial contributions. They offer encouragement, and reinforce the benevolent notion that individually and collectively, we have the power to change our world.