Building Bridges program celebrating first year of helping local veterans

Franklin County

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Episcopal Diocese of western Massachusetts celebrated their first anniversary of their Building Bridges Veterans program Thursday in Greenfield.

The Building Bridges Veterans Initiative seeks to help veterans adjust and to cultivate living communities with and for American veterans.

In recognition of the sacrifices they had made on behalf of our homeland, veterans from across Franklin County received a free lunch Thursday as they do every Thursday in Greenfield.

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The Building Bridges Veterans’ lunch in Greenfield is held every Thursday at noon at the Elks Lodge. The Greenfield luncheon is one of several weekly veterans’ luncheons put together by the Building Bridges Veterans Initiative Diocese of western Massachusetts.

More than 70 veterans participate in Greenfield, including the Iraq War, Korean War, Vietnam, and as far back as World War II.

Christopher Carlisle, director of Building Bridges Veterans Initiative Diocese of western Massachusetts told 22News, “We have veterans from all walks of life who look forward to being here every Thursday to maintain new friendships and develop new ones.”

Two Greenfield World War II Veterans, Ron Powers and Bernard Schatz added, “We have a good time here its just nice to see all these guys here are able to move around. We are too, we’re 90 years old and we hope we can make it another 10 at least.”

Carisle told 22News they’ve provided almost 3,000 lunches through the program and have gained nearly $10,000 in donations.

He said they are working to get one started started on the Springfield-Chicopee line.

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