ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Vietnam War museum in Elmira aims to help veterans from all wars.

“Friday mornings from 9 to 10, we have open group here. Veterans only, unless you’re invited. Okay, veterans only can come in here. Any veteran of any service, any branch of any war or non-war,” said Director Dennis Wolfe Sr.

Athena Barnes served in the Gulf War and in the reserves for thousands of military funerals.

She came here today for the very first time, hoping the museum could help with her ongoing problems with the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).

“They just won’t listen to me and I go every other avenue and I keep getting pointed toward somebody else saying it’s not my issue. it’s not my issue go here, it’s not my issue go back there. I mean, when I got here. Karen, she said I gotta call somebody on this. she said, this isn’t right. This isn’t good. We’re gonna get some answers and we’re gonna get some help and we’ve been on the phone since,” said Barnes.

Because of this, her and her children aren’t receiving necessary higher education benefits. The Vietnam War Museum is doing its best to help her out.

“We’re gonna do whatever we can do, okay. We’re very limited in what we can do with the VA system in itself. But, we’re not limited as to where we can go,” said Wolfe.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is coming up on September 15th. For the museum, it’s about honoring veterans every single day.

“We honor every day here. Our chapter is named in honor of our only POW/MIA from Chemung County. That was Robert H. Schuler Jr.”