Milwaukee cookout, vet resource fair honors ‘those who didn't make it'

Memorial Day weekend is a celebration for many, but for veterans, it can be tough, bringing up a lot of difficult memories. A cookout and resource fair was held Saturday, May 29 at the Explorium Brewpub in Milwaukee's Third Ward, offering many local veterans a chance to meet and support each other, changed by loss and the tragedies of war.

"For veterans like myself, it’s a special time for us because we are honoring those who didn’t make it to the other side," said Mike Doble, Explorium proprietor.

Many veterans walk a lonely path.

"I’ve lost people throughout my time in Afghanistan, and Memorial Day, for me, is remembering them," said Sam Rogers, director of Concerned Veterans for America WI.

Veterans came together Saturday at the Explorium Brewpub Third Ward for a cookout and resource fair to honor their legacy.

"Raise a glass and remember those that we lost," said Dan Newberry, co-director of the Veteran Business Outreach Centers.

The event provided comradery, avenues for business and volunteer opportunities and help for anyone struggling legally or with mental health issues.

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"I’ve lost people throughout my time in Afghanistan," said Rogers. "For a very long time, particularly after my first deployment, that was pretty hard. I spent Memorial Days like many vets do, which is sad, drunk and alone."

The Veteran Business Outreach Centers and Concerned Veterans for America were among the groups taking part, working to make sure those struggling this weekend aren't alone.