Thursday, August 11

Following Attack by Troubled Veteran, Rep. Zeldin Continues Push to Expand Dwyer Program Nationally


On Friday, August 5, 2022, at 10:00 a.m., in front of the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Statue at Rocky Point Veterans Memorial Square, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), a United States Army veteran, will be joined by state legislators from Suffolk County, members of his Veterans Advisory Board, and local veterans and veteran advocates to advocate for an expansion nationwide of the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program, a peer-to-peer support program for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
At a rally on July 21, Congressman Zeldin was attacked and nearly stabbed by David Jakubonis, a veteran who is struggling with mental health issues. Mr. Jakubonis was released on his own recognizance immediately after his initial arrest without any time or effort allowed to deal with his mental health issues. The Dwyer Program is a peer-to-peer support model for veterans that has been proven to be effective at preventing tragedy and has helped returning service members throughout New York gain the support they need and thrive.
Congressman Zeldin created the Dwyer Program during his time serving in the New York State Senate in honor of PFC Joseph Dwyer, an Iraq War veteran from Mount Sinai, New York, who sadly lost his battle with PTSD. This successful peer-to-peer support model provides a safe, confidential, and educational platform where all veterans are welcome to meet with other veterans in support of each other’s successful transition to post-service life and seeks to build vet-to-vet relationships that enhance positive change through common experiences, learning and personal growth.
Suffolk County served as one of four test counties in New York in 2013, the first year of the program, and since then, the program has expanded statewide, saving lives while assisting tens of thousands of New York veterans battling PTSD and TBI.
On March 1, 2021, Congressman Zeldin introduced H.R. 1476 – the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program Act, which would expand the Dwyer Program nationally and help veterans across the United States receive the care, treatment and support they need and deserve. This bipartisan legislation has nearly 40 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and the backing of 14 veterans advocacy groups.


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