BUFFALO, N.Y. — Michael Coffman, 75, is sitting among friends at the Amherst Center for Senior Services. Speaking of service, this Marine Corps veteran spent time in Vietnam.
"I went in, in 1965 and made the amphibious landing in Chu Lai in Vietnam during the Vietnam War," said Coffman.
Coffman suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and like many veterans, was looking for a place that provided counseling and other services for veterans looking to readjust to life after the military.
"This isn't what they learned, it's not what they know, stuff they need help with. And I wanted to put it all together and the Vet Center was instrumental in making that happen," said Coffman.
Colleen Drake is an outreach program sSpecialist with the Vet Center, which helps veterans, national guardsmen and reservists get counseling and re-adjust.
"I'm very proud. My veterans are number one to me. I love my veterans because, without my veterans, I wouldn't be able to make the choices I do in my everyday life," said Drake.
Drake worked with Coffman, as well as the Buffalo VA Hospital, to organize a Legacy Workshop at the senior center.
"You fought for us, we're fighting for you. With the constant change in eligibilities and services out there, you don't know until you ask," said Drake.
She says it was Coffman's idea actually to organize the event, which included a number of vendors and information about estate planning, continuing and end-of-life care, like funerals as well as cemetery services.
"There is a need for this. As you get older, you know there's death at the end, yet you don't know how to approach it," said Drake.
Drake stopped by the center to catch up with Coffman, who says he's proud to help out should there be future workshops.
"Proud to be a veteran. Proud to have served. Proud to have been a Marine. A lot of the veterans suffer from PTSD and memory issues associated with their service, and can't really take care of themselves. And this would be a great way to offer up help," said Coffman.
While Buffalo Vet Center has other locations, including in Rochester, and Erie, Pennsylvania, there are Veteran Medical Centers and services offered across the state.
For more information, click here.