Newport Vets Town Hall 2021
Update (7/18, 7:45am): The forecast today in Newport is for showers, drying up around noon, with a cloudy afternoon. The pavilion will provide shelter from any remaining precipitation. Looking forward to seeing you there!
All community members are invited to a Vets Town Hall outdoors at the waterfront pavilion at Prouty Beach in Newport, Vermont. Veterans of any era who served in any capacity are invited to stand before their community and speak for up to ten minutes about what it was like to serve their country. 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 a question-and-answer period with some of the speakers at the end of the event.
You can RSVP on Eventbrite here. RSVPs are encouraged, but optional.
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.
Seating: There will be seating available at picnic tables under the pavilion. Please don’t hesitate to bring folding chairs, camp chairs, or picnic blankets if that is more comfortable for you.
Parking: This map shows available parking at Prouty Beach. The larger lots are a little ways off from the pavilion. Please consider parking further away if that’s comfortable for you, so that spaces closer to the pavilion will be available for those with mobility concerns
Accessibility: The nearest parking is next to the Lower Beach House restrooms (circled in red on this map detail). Attendees are welcome to drive right up to the pavilion to drop someone off, but the venue has let us know that there should not be anyone parking on the driveway or lawn next to the pavilion; the roadway needs to be kept open so campers can access the waterfront sites #59-62.
Covid Protocols: The event is outdoors, to allow us to gather as safely and comfortably as possible. Vermont is now 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.
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.
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.
Marty McMahon will host the event. After a period of service in the Air Force as a medic, Marty McMahon returned to academic studies in literature, language, and rhetoric, receiving an MA and an MLitt from Middlebury College. Marty has worked as a high school teacher, a chimney sweep, and a field technician in alternative energy (including working as a contractor and crew chief on the Navy TACTS program, installing wind and solar systems on their off-shore platforms). He has taught at CCV, Vermont College, and Norwich (supervising cadets while teaching Military Literature to Special Ops personnel in their Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis online program). For five years at CCV he served as a Veteran & Military Resource Advisor while also facilitating Veteran Reading Group for the Vermont Humanities Council.
Rain Plan: In case of rain, the pavilion will provide shelter. In case of severe weather, the event will be rescheduled to July 25th.
Thank you to: Marty McMahon, Scott St. Onge and Rhett Bessey, the Newport VFW Post 798 and Auxiliary, Jessica Booth and Becky Therrien at the Newport Parks and Recreation Department, Community College of Vermont, Hoagie’s and Red Door Bakery for food donations, Vermont Veterans Fund, Vermont Veterans Outreach Program, and the many other individuals and organizations who have offered advice, feedback, and support