CHITTENANGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango is adding to its executive team as it looks to expand.
Bill Smullen has just started in the role of CEO for the 11-year old veterans group.
Smullen just retired as the director of the National Security Studies program at Syracuse University.
He also served in a number of roles at the federal level including Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell. Smullen is also a Vietnam Veteran.
He says, “This is my opportunity to contribute to the wellness of veterans every day not just some days as I did in my previous lives.”
Clear Path serves thousands of veterans in a 23 county region in Upstate New York.
“Every community in America needs to have what we are, a facility that is available to veterans of all eras who need help, who need direction, who need guidance, who need a helping hand, who just need a handshake or someone to pat them on the back,”
On Wednesday volunteers, some of them veterans were preparing food for the canteen, a complimentary lunch every Wednesday for vets and their families.
Last week about 200 people attended the canteen at Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango.
Smullen says other groups are now looking to Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango for guidance on how to create their own similar veterans groups.
“President and Vice President of Clear Path New England, headquartered in Devens, Massachusetts were here last night for our board meeting to describe how they are trying to replicate what we do. We’re also doing it in Broome County, and we’re doing it in the Hudson Valley, New York,” he tells NewsChannel 9.
Their service dog training program is the envy of many veterans groups. They turn out about 10 dogs per year to pair up with a veteran and have matched up over 80 in total.
Smullen says, “We help many who don’t have a job find a job. We help those who perhaps don’t have the ability to feed themselves. We have a pantry.”
Clear Path has plans to build a dedicated service dog training facility, as well as cabins to host family retreats at its Chittenango campus.