Burlington Vets Town Hall 2021
All community members are invited to a Vets Town Hall outdoors at Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington, Vermont. Veterans are invited to speak about what their service means to them. Non-veterans are encouraged to attend and listen.
This event is non-political, and all perspectives are valued. There will be no debate on American foreign policy.
Based on feedback from both speakers and attendees, there will be an optional question-and-answer period with some of the speakers at the end of the event.
This VTH will take place outdoors, to allow us to gather as safely and comfortably as possible.
You can RSVP on Eventbrite here. RSVPs are optional, but encouraged.
For speakers: Tell us what your service means to you. Please tell us about your own experiences, whatever they may be, rather than speaking broadly about an issue or organization. You’re a member of our community, and it’s your stories, reflections, and insights that we’re anxious to hear.
Each veteran will be given up to 10 minutes to speak. Veterans who would like to speak can contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or mark that preference when registering on eventbrite. If you’re considering speaking but prefer not to register, we encourage you to attend. After pre-registered speakers go, the host will take speakers from the floor, time permitting. The goal is for every veteran who would like to speak to have a chance to do so.
Of course, veterans (and all community members) are also welcome to simply attend and listen.
For all attendees: All community members are invited to this event. Only veterans will speak, but non-veterans are encouraged to attend and listen.
Throughout the event, you may hear something you agree or disagree with. You may have a question. Or you may want to say encouraging words with the intention to help. However, we ask that you please refrain from responding. We are simply here to listen and learn about what it was like to serve in the wars that this nation has chosen to fight.
Directions: Ethan Allen Homestead is located off the North Ave/Beaches exit of Route 127, near Burlington’s New North End. Click here for detailed directions and maps.
Parking: The parking lot closest to the picnic shelter (#2 on this map) will be set aside for folks with mobility concerns. Other attendees should continue down Ethan Allen Homestead road past the community garden to the large parking lot (near #3 on this map). If it is comfortable and safe for you, please consider carpooling, as parking may be a bit tight.
Seating & Shade: There will be folding chairs available. Please consider bringing your own camp chairs, picnic blankets, etc, as those may be more comfortable for you. There are some lovely trees around the picnic shelter, and we will have several canopy tents set up for shade. Attendees may also bring pop-up tents, if you have one available to you and would like to ensure a shady spot. Tents may only be staked into the ground with stakes 6″ or shorter.
Parents: Your children are welcome to attend with you, but when deciding whether or not to bring them, please be aware that speakers will address serious topics and that this is not a rehearsed event.
Rain plan: In case of bad weather, the event will be moved to October 3rd.
Covid considerations: The event is outdoors, to allow us to gather as safely and comfortably as possible. Vermont continues to be fully open. Of course, please exercise common sense, stay home if sick, etc. If you are vaccinated, masks are not required. If you are not vaccinated, masks are encouraged if less than six feet apart from one another. Please exercise your discretion, and keep a mask with you in case circumstances warrant their use.
For organizations: There won’t be any tabling at the event, in order to make sure the focus is clearly on the speakers and the experiences being shared. Of course, it’s important to share information about resources as well, so there will be a table with literature from various organizations. Please don’t hesitate to bring some fliers for this table. Representatives from Veterans Service Organizations are also welcome to bring business cards and share those. If your organization has representatives who are veterans, they are welcome to speak – but we ask that they speak as individuals, not on behalf of the organization.
Jon Turner will host the event. Jon served with the Marines between 2003-2007 and deployed to Haiti, Fallujah and Ramadi, Iraq. Since his discharge, he has traveled extensively and worked with various communities to assist in the veteran reintegration process from paper-making to outdoor recreation and farming. In 2014, Jon began to utilize the agricultural landscape as a classroom for community members interested in resilient food systems through service learning projects, internships, and site visits for K-12, college students, and military veterans. Jon is the founding and former chair of the Vermont state chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, recipient of the National Farm to School Innovations Grant, Sierra Club Military Outings Leader, and currently operates Wild Roots Community Farm in Bristol.
Thank you to:Jon Turner, for hosting the event; the Mayor’s Office for sponsoring the venue; Dan O’Neill and Ethan Allen Homestead for providing support at the venue; Cabot Creamery Co-operative, Dakin Farm, Ethan Allen Homestead, and Krin’s Bakery for donating refreshments; Community College of Vermont for providing marketing support; Vermont Veterans Outreach Program for attending and being available to provide peer support; the Vermont Veterans Fund; and the many individuals and organizations who have offered advice, feedback, and support.