U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin joined with members of the family of Joseph P. Dwyer at the Patchogue American Legion post on Monday to announce the introduction of legislation in Congress to expand the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Program to the national level.
Pfc. Dwyer, who was from Mt. Sinai, served in Iraq and received nationwide recognition for a photograph that went viral—showing him cradling a wounded Iraqi boy, while his unit was fighting its way to Baghdad. After returning home and struggling with PTSD, PFC Dwyer died in 2008 and left behind a young widow, Matina, and 2-year-old daughter, Meaghan.
The Dwyer Program was initially launched in 2012 in Suffolk, Jefferson, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties and has since expanded to over a dozen counties in New York State. Since the program started, it has helped over 1,500 veterans.
Congressman Zeldin’s bill, which he is introducing in Congress this week, would take what has been accomplished in New York and expand it nationally so that we eventually have access to a peer-to-peer support group for every veteran across America.