Intergenerational Bonds

How a Post 9/11 Veteran of Bay Ridge is Supporting Older Veterans

Michael Matos moved to Bay Ridge during the pandemic. In many ways, Southwest Brooklyn got the hero it needed: Matos is a lifelong leader and has dedicated his life to service and understands that leadership starts with giving back.

Matos is a military veteran, undergraduate student and lifelong New Yorker. After graduating high school, Michael enlisted in the U.S Coast Guard, specializing in Search and Rescue, Maritime Law Enforcement and Anti-Terrorism. After serving six years of active duty, he returned home, eager to continue his education at CUNY John Jay College, where he majors in International Criminal Justice. Off campus, Michael became an active member of the NYC Veterans Alliance, where he found a supportive network of like-minded veterans dedicated to public service. Determined to create change, Michael joined the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Of America (IAVA) in their "Storm the hill" campaign, where he advocated for student veterans to members of Congress and the Senate.

When COVID-19 struck NYC, he volunteered as an operator for the NYC Veterans Alliance's Mutual Aid Program, where he relentlessly worked to connect struggling veteran families to essential resources. Recognized for his dedication to the veteran community, Michael was elected president of the John Jay Veterans Association by his peers, where he currently serves while finishing his degree. He is a proud resident of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and continues his military service through the U.S Coast Guard Reserves as a Maritime Enforcement Specialist.

Now, Matos attends our Bay Ridge Heroes programming amidst his hectic schedule to support older veterans navigate retirement, VA benefits, and the difficulties of isolation as a result of the pandemic. We can always count on Matos to brighten up the sessions with his positive attitude, radiant smile, and can-do spirit.

Thank you, Michael Matos, for your service and support of our Bay Ridge Heroes program. We salute you!

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