JOSEPH P. DWYER VETERANS PEER SUPPORT PROJECT
Named to honor the memory of an Iraq war hero from Mount Sinai, NY, the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Project is a peer-to-peer program for Veterans facing the challenges of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Launched in 2012 as a pilot partnership between our Suffolk County United Veterans program and the Suffolk County Veterans Service Agency, the Dwyer Project takes a confidential, one-on-one, peer-to-peer approach that has rapidly captured the attention and support of both veterans and mental health professionals statewide and across the nation.
The program has steadily demonstrated that the peer-to-peer model holds tremendous, untapped value as a tool for helping Veterans transition and reintegrate back into civilian life.
Through Suffolk County United Veterans, a program of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness, we are proud to have taken a leadership role in piloting this innovative program that will soon serve as a national model for Veterans’ assistance. We are also indebted to the Suffolk County Veterans Service Agency for the critical role they have played as a partner in supporting the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project.
Marcelle Leis, CMSgt (Ret), USAF/ANG, Program Director
John Schultz, USMC, Project Coordinator
Nancy Tappin, Administrative Support Specialist
Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project
“To assist Veterans, service members, and their families to achieve and sustain personal health, wellness, and purpose in their post-service lives through the support of trained veteran peers.”
What we do:
The Dwyer Project is in its 5th year of serving Veterans, service members and their families with post-service transitional issues to include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
We strive to ensure that every person engaged in our project has an opportunity to unite the peer support process whether in group or through individual peer mentorship, to develop and implement a wellness strategy while transitioning into the civilian community.
All Dwyer Project activities and services are free of charge to veterans on Long Island of all eras. By leveraging military cultural values of trust, respect, perseverance and self-reliance we facilitate successful reintegration by engaging other veterans who have shared experiences. Impact in the community has resulted in reduction of hospitalizations, sustained families, secured gainful employment, prevented homelessness, promoted daily wellness and educated the civilian community as to the needs of our veterans.
We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to fundamentally change their lives for the better and that all people can get out of the feeling of isolation.
During his service in Iraq, Joseph P. Dwyer – who enlisted in the Army just two days after 9-11 – attracted nationwide recognition for a photograph showing him cradling a wounded Iraqi boy while his unit was engaged in battle in Baghdad. The iconic photograph, taken by Army Times photographer Warren Zinn, ran front page in newspapers and on television news broadcasts across the country. While the photo turned Dwyer into an instant “hero,” his life changed dramatically when he returned home. Dwyer fought a wrenching battle against a powerful new foe: PTSD. Tragically, he died in 2008, leaving behind a wife and young daughter.
The Dwyer Project was initially launched in the counties of Suffolk, Jefferson, Saratoga and Rensselaer at the initiative of then-New York State Senator, now U.S. Congressman, Lee Zeldin. The program has since expanded into eleven other New York counties including Nassau. Thanks to the Dwyer Project’s early success, Congressman Zeldin recently introduced national legislation that would provide funds to state and local governments to conduct peer-to-peer programs across the country. The goal is to build on the success we have seen here in Suffolk County and expand it nationally.
Veterans deserve the best available resources and treatment. The goal is to ensure that every Veteran across America – no matter when they served and no matter what their discharge status – has access to peer support. The Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Program is helping to make that happen.
Peer Support Groups
The Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project provides Veteran-led peer support groups at sites across Suffolk County.
- Amityville: 6:00pm at Liberty Village, 600 Albany Avenue.
- Bay Shore: 6:00pm at Beacon House, 1715 Union Boulevard.
- Yaphank: 3:00pm at The Vets Place, 32 Mill Road.
- Sag Harbor: 6:00pm at Burkeshire Court, 3330 Noyac Road., Building D.
- East Patchogue: 5:30pm, Brookhaven Hospital, 101 Hospital Road (Trailer B adjacent to Main Building).
- Riverhead: 6:30pn at Synergy Center, 1380 Roanoke Avenue.
- Patchogue: (Individual outreach will resume in February, 2017) St. Joseph’s College, Veterans Lounge, O’Connor Hall.
- Mt. Sinai: 2nd Thursday of the month 10:00am at Rose Caracappa Senior Center, 739 Route 25A (This is a senior group)
- **COMING SOON** Online Support Group for Veterans. Kicks off Thursday March 30th at 6pm
In the News
Some events require registration in advance. Please follow the links if provided.
Visit our Facebook page for more information facebook.com/dwyerproject
Thursday March 30th at 6pm: Kick off of our brand new Online Support Group! Link coming soon!
Wednesday April 5th 12 – 2 pm: Northport Public Library Resource Table 151 Laurel Avenue Northport, NY 11768 http://www.nenpl.org/
Saturday April 8th 11 – 3 pm: Spirit’s Promise Equine Empowerment Program 2746 Sound Avenue Riverhead, NY 11901 http://www.spiritspromiserescue.org/
These locations provide veterans the opportunity to learn about our program and be connected to resources in the community that are available to them.
Please check our calendar for up to date information for each location.
Sachem Public Library ~ 150 Holbrook Rd. South Holbrook
Resource Table held on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 12 – 2 pm & 5 – 7 pm
Huntington Resource Center ~ 1264 New York Ave, Huntington Station
Resource Table held on the 2nd Friday of each month from 12 – 2 pm
Huntington Public Library (Station Branch) ~ 1335 New York Ave, Huntington Station
Resource Table held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 12 – 2 pm
American Legion Post #269 Patchogue ~ Baker St. & S Ocean Ave. Patchogue
Community Breakfast held monthly as schedule allows.