Veterans' Home Trustees review PSA, authorize solar contract


BENNINGTON -- Emily Fleming, an intern from Southern Vermont College, nearly stole the show at Wednesday's meeting of the Vermont Veterans Home Trustees with a public service video she made about the facility.

Gary Yelle, the home's director of marketing, said Fleming, an intern for the spring semester, wanted to learn about marketing in general. He asked her to review the home's marketing efforts and pick two things that she wanted to do. So she came up with the PSA spot, which runs 71 seconds.

"With the public service announcement, the first objective, obviously, is to inform," said Fleming, a junior from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., who is majoring in healthcare management. "We want people to know what we do here every day, our work and services. But beyond that I wanted to portray a feeling -- I wanted to take an emotion that you get when you walk through these doors: That pride, that dignity that you feel every day working here and coming here. I wanted people to feel that, and I hope I hit the nail on the head with that."

The video, uploaded to YouTube, can be found at the bottom of the Veterans' Home website homepage -- -- under the title ‘Short Video to Our Veterans." It can also be accessed at this URL:

"At the Vermont Veterans Home, we acknowledge the sacrifices that veterans and their families make every single day," Fleming narrates during the video, which features black and white photos of life at the home. She lists the services the home provides to its residents.

She continues, "These services are provided in a culture of honor and respect that allows veterans and their families to tell their stories and keep their dignity. We believe it is now our turn to give back and it is our honor to make sure your service is never forgotten. At the Vermont Veterans Home, it's just that -- a home. We invite you and enter a community that cares."

At the conclusion of the video, those present burst into applause. "That's very nice," said a woman in the audience.

Yelle said the video would be distributed as a public service announcement to public access channels in Vermont, New York and Massachusetts. First, however, it will have to be shortened by 11 seconds to one minute, as this is a strict requirement for such spots.

Solar project vote

In other business, the trustees voted to empower home CEO/Administrator Melissa Jackson to develop a contract for an 83-panel solar project on land the home owns north of its facility. The hope is that the trustees will be able to vote on a contract at their next meeting in two months.

"There's no way if we take action today we'll see any work begin this construction season," said Board of Trustees President Joseph Krawczyk Jr. "I think all we're asking for now is the board's approval now to allow Melissa to move forward to the next phase, which is develop a contract to bring back to us to look at it and vote (on) hopefully by the next meeting so that when (next) spring rolls around we're all set."

Even after a contract is agreed to, it will be have to be studied by the state attorney general's office and the project will undergo on-site planning and will need approval by the state's Public Service Board, officials said.

As had been explained at earlier meetings, the proposed 500 kilowatt-hour solar array would generate a net metering surplus power credit of $155,250 a year. Some 273 KW of this power would be used to run the state office complex annually. As part of the envisioned arrangement, the Veterans' Home would receive 10 percent of this amount annually in savings, about $15,525. The typical project life is 20 years and the estimated dollar savings to the Veterans Home over this time would be $345,000, reflecting a 3 percent increase annually.

Contact Mark Rondeau at or on Twitter @banner_religion


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