State coordinator and consultant on community forums aiming to increase understanding between local veterans and civilians.
At a Vets Town Hall, veterans are invited to stand before their community and speak about what their service means to them. Non-veterans are encouraged to attend and listen.
In 2016, I read about Vets Town Halls in Sebastian Junger’s book Tribe, and attended one in Dover, NH. The next spring, I began reaching out to local veterans and VSOs. With generous help from many individuals and organizations, I spearheaded the first Vets Town Hall in Vermont, which took place at Burlington’s Contois Auditorium in November 2017, and was hosted by John Tracy.
I’ve since worked on Vets Town Halls in Burlington, Middlesex, and Colchester, all hosted by Jon Turner – and I’ve consulted on Rutland, St. Johnsbury, and Newport events hosted by Kyle Aines of Community College of Vermont and by Marty McMahon. The events have taken place annually, with the exception of a hiatus in 2020. In 2021, Vermont’s Vets Town Halls were held outdoors over the summer.
I manage statewide communications for all Vermont events, which includes vtvetstownhall.org, an e-newsletter, and social media. In partnership with local organizers, I work on publicity and communications with press, and outreach to veterans organizations, elected officials, and the community at large. For Chittenden County events, I also create and maintain the event budget and liaise with the venue.
Jon Turner discussing Vets Town Halls with Lauren Maloney on “What Matters This Week.” Jon has hosted the Burlington-area VTHs since 2018.