Scott Forbes has been named interim executive director of Haverhill-based Veterans Northeast Outreach Center.
Forbes takes over from Executive Director Edward V. Mitchell. He is no stranger to the organization, as he explained in a recent appearance on WHAV’s morning program.
“Five years ago I kind of lost my way in terms of being able to figure some things out and I came to VNOC for support and services, and they helped me be able to get myself on the right path, and that was back in 2016. I always said if there was even an opportunity that I’d be able to come back and work for the place that helped me. I know exactly what it feels like to walk through the doors and say, ‘you know I can’t do it by myself. I need help and I need some support.’ I’m fortunate enough to work with some of those people today that helped me back in 2016 so every day I walk through these doors it’s definitely a blessing. It’s something I don’t take for granted and every day is an opportunity we can do something for somebody, and it’s an opportunity we’ll never, ever, pass up,” he explains.
Forbes started working for the Veterans Northeast two years ago, following 22 years in the service and active-duty assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq. He began as a case manager at the Methuen location.
“In July, I assumed the role of chief operating officer for the organization. There was going to be a natural transition of power with Chief Mitchell who was our executive director. I think COVID kind of sped everything up, but he ended up voluntarily stepping down from the position at the end of the end of the year and as of Jan. 1, I became the interim director for VNOC,” he says.
Forbes says COVID has impacted everyone during the past year, especially making “food insecurity” a reality in the Merrimack Valley and throughout the Commonwealth.
“Our partnership with Mass. Military we were able to set up multiple pop-up sites during the 2020 calendar year. We were able to hand out about 1,000 or 1,200 boxes of non-perishable items,” he says.
Forbes says at VNOC’s Amesbury location, in partnership with CNA stores, the agency was also able to hand out 1,000 boxes a week of perishable items, such as dairy and meats. Currently, Forbes says, the outreach effort includes a food pantry at its Haverhill headquarters at 10 Reed St., which is serving about 100 people a week.
The organization also operates programs through federal and state partnerships with the Department of Veteran Affairs and Department of Veterans Services.
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