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Why Community Matters

Why Community Matters
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I spoke with Jon Coffin, National Guard colonel and a part of the Howard Center for 37 years. Today he devotes his time to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. He gets calls from soldiers who can’t sleep when they come back to Vermont; soldiers whose family life is falling apart, due to constant arguing. He meets with soldiers when they first step off the plane that has brought them back from a war zone. Then he sits with them, one by one, for as long as it takes.

“I help them leave their hauntings behind,” he said.

Can there be more important work than this?

You, all of you here tonight, whether you work directly with clients, or whether by your financial support you keep the center alive and viable, you make sure that they are not forgotten. You listen, and by listening you give people a voice. And in return, when those voices are heard, communities grow together. You are the listeners. There may no harder or more vital task than being there to listen, and most of us simply aren’t up to it. You’ve chosen this work for the rest of us.

Thank you for that.

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