New veterans to be welcomed home at Maryland Zoo this weekend

Posted at 11:35 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 23:37:47-04

The Maryland VA Healthcare System and the Maryland Zoo at Baltimore are holding a "Welcome Back" event for veterans and their families this Saturday.

In addition to some quality time with animals, organizers say there will be a DJ, face painters, caricature artists and more.

But, there is a deeper meaning behind the gathering.

"As a veteran, its really important to normalize the experience of coming home," said Chris Buser, Chief of Social Work with VA Maryland Health, "After Vietnam, we saw what happened when our country didn't really welcome home veterans and how long it took for them to come into services."

Welcome Back day will also give veterans the opportunity to connect to VA and community services that can help tackle common problems.

"Difficulties with relationships, or employment or sustaining housing," said organizer Brittney Renehan.

About 70 veterans and their families are planning to attend, according to Maryland VA Health.

Tickets are no longer available, but organizers say they can most likely accommodate veterans who show up at the door.

"Welcome Back" day at the Maryland Zoo is being held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on September 16.