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Ortt honors Lockport business owner with 2019 'Women of Distinction' Award

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Wed, May 8th 2019 02:15 pm
New York State Sen. Rob Ortt presents Jennifer D'Andrea with a 2019 `Women of Distinction` Award.
New York State Sen. Rob Ortt presents Jennifer D'Andrea with a 2019 "Women of Distinction" Award.

On Tuesday, New York State Sen. Rob Ortt welcomed Lockport businesswoman Jennifer D’Andrea to Albany to receive a 2019 “Women of Distinction” Award. Each year, women from each Senate district across New York are recognized for their outstanding contributions to their respective communities. D’Andrea was chosen for her work in providing housing for homeless and disabled veterans and their families.

After losing her spouse to an opiate overdose in 2010, D’Andrea and her four children struggled to cope, but soon realized that, in their heartache, an opportunity to help others presented itself. As a result of her and her children’s loss, D’Andrea’s life experience growing up in a military family, and her struggle to find resources to help her and her family get through their tragedy, she decided to create what was so desperately lacking in her community. In 2012, D’Andrea took action and founded the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, S.E.R.V. Niagara.

S.E.R.V. Niagara's mission is to support, empower and respect veterans. It is the first and only organization of its kind in Niagara County, providing housing exclusively for homeless and disabled veterans and their families. S.E.R.V. Niagara also provides a uniquely structured program to support, employ, educate, empower and promote healing, all of which foster the ultimate goals of self-sufficiency and keeping families together.

“Jennifer’s ability to turn personal tragedy into something that has helped hundreds of other local residents get through their toughest times is remarkable and worthy of praise from all New Yorkers,” Ortt said. “I know how difficult it can be when returning home from combat. Many of our soldiers do not come back the same person, and when they return home, life can be extremely challenging. Jennifer recognized this and has taken it upon herself to help as many returning service members as possible.” 

D’Andrea presents all S.E.R.V. Niagara programming to the treatment courts and veterans courts and speaks on social issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, and the effects on children and families. She works closely with law enforcement agencies, the Veterans Administration, Department of Social Services, and collaborates with various agencies and organizations.

Since forming S.E.R.V. Niagara, D’Andrea has shifted her area of practice in her career from personal injury to veteran and military issues and offers services pro-bono to qualifying veterans.

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