Friday, June 17, 2011

Bartenders can be Combat Veterans' First Line of Defense

When it comes to dispensing healthcare, war veterans are a hard group to reach. But bartenders at VFW canteens, who develop family-like ties with patrons, are well-positioned to identify those in crisis and steer them toward professional help.

Reporting from Dale City, Va.— The minute one of her regulars comes through the canteen door at VFW Post 1503, Dori Keys starts to pour. Captain Morgan and Diet Coke for Rich. Old Crow on the rocks for Sam. Bruce likes Miller Lite.

The men she serves have one thing in common: They are American combat veterans. After seven years of listening from behind the bar, she knows a lot more about some of them than what they drink.

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