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Speakers discuss peace through public service

Liz Bush (left) and Tom Bersani  (right) speak at last week's Sunrise Rotary Club Peace Forum at Skaneateles High School.

Liz Bush (left) and Tom Bersani (right) speak at last week's Sunrise Rotary Club Peace Forum at Skaneateles High School. Photo by Joe Genco.

Bersani said that the humanitarian work of medical professionals is something that can help foster peace in unstable parts of the world.

“I think some of the revolutions that have occurred in Central American countries over the years have basically come down to people not having their basic needs and just being fed up. So North American medical teams going down there on a regular basis and putting some Band-Aids on some of their most severe social problems, probably does stabilize these countries,” he said.

Melissa Spicer, co-founder of Central New York based ClearPath for Veterans, said that helping veterans was a way to make a difference without leaving the Syracuse area.

“I was told by someone much smarter than me, that what we chose to do with our situation, is what makes us. So you can sit around and complain or you can make a difference right where you are,” Spicer said.

ClearPath is an organization that offers services to veterans including its well known Dogs2Vets program. Spicer said that when men and women leave the military they want to continue serving their country and her organization helps them do that.

“Healthy veterans do transform communities because of their service, they are always looking to serve,” she said.

John Mannion spoke about his experience in the Peace Corps, which he joined after graduating from college. The Peace Corps is an American organization that sends volunteers all over the world to help spread information on modern business, technology, agriculture and health practices.

Following two months of training Mannion was sent into the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador to help a number of small isolated communities. Though they did have electricity, there was no running water in the village where he lived, so one of the projects he undertook while there was to create a system to distribute clean water in containers as well as to help them develop sustainable agriculture.

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