Northern New England Retiree Day in Augusta 

Augusta was the place to be for retired veterans today.They were able to get information on what benefits are available to them at the twelfth annual Northern New England Retiree Day.Meghan Hayward has the story.” Certainly one of those things folks don’t know what’s available for them so it’s nice to have a day where they can come regardless of their service and background and can rotate through the stations and learn more about their benefits.”Merle Kaples was one of more than 500 retired veterans who attended the event.She joined the marine corps during World War Two.And met her husband at Camp Pendleton in California during boot camp.They raised their four children mainly in Maryland, but she calls Maine her home now.Kaples joined the Marine Corps at the age of twenty. A decision she is happy she made.” It was the thing to. In World War Two this country was so involved in helping in World War Two.”Kaples says she was glad she could attend the event.” This has been a real treat today to talk to people who are volunteers and active duty. The information we’ve gotten has just been wonderful.”Kaples says she had no idea the amount of benefits out there for her and other women.” I absolutely did not know that me as a veteran and spouse was eligible for the veteran’s care.”And there was one organization on-hand that was making sure women like Kaples would leave knowing what benefits were out there for them.The Maine Advisory Commission on Women Veterans was a great source for Kaples.” There are about 10,000 women veterans in the state of Maine and that equals about 7 percent of the Maine veteran population so that’s quite a significant amount and that number is expected to increase by 2,000 women veterans in the next two to three years.”Chair of the organization Terry Moore says she wasn’t surprised that so many women were unaware of what was available for them.” Women veterans need to see women veterans and that’s part of the issue. We need to have a presence and the more they know we’re out here and we can refer them to services they are more apt to access them.”Kaples says she is leaving the event with a better knowledge of what is available to her and an even bigger feeling of pride.” Military bands still stir me completely.”