Re: “Lawmakers reject Maine bill allowing underage veterans to drink at vets’ halls” (April 16):

The article in Thursday’s Press Herald regarding Rep. Catherine Nadeau’s bill to exempt underage military members from the legal drinking age requirements in specific venues demands that we voice our objections.

Underage drinking – by military members or not – is not just breaking the law, but also endangering the drinker and all who might come in contact with him or her.

The idea that a bar or private club is an appropriate environment for a youngster to seek guidance and support is ludicrous on the face of it. Older vets do not go to such venues to dispense sagacity; they go to have a drink with their buddies, have a few laughs and, often, discuss veterans’ affairs. This is as it should be.

There is in place, through the Southern Maine Agency on Aging, a program that might be better suited for camaraderie. It is the Vet to Vet program, in which vets ranging from World War II to our present conflicts visit one another.

The writers of this letter, both Army veterans, are partners in this program. Some members are housebound; some healthy. Others just don’t have the social network many of us enjoy.

Some go to lunch; others go on day trips. And all, to my observation, have bonded with their partner, and in fact several have mentioned that they now have an additional family member.

We would recommend that any active service member or vet who feels the need to sit down with a peer contact the Vet to Vet coordinator, Sue Gold, at [email protected].

Vernon Huestis


Eric Mihan