Bill Merritt and Bill Duersch, residents at Berkeley Square, fought in different wars and in different branches. They found similarities in the bond they share as veterans.

“In the Marine Corp, we were taught everyone is a brother,” explains Duersch. “You really can’t understand the relationships you build and share with people unless you’ve experienced it.”

Together, they organize the Veterans Group at Berkeley Square. Merritt initially started the group in 1996 as a place for veterans to swap war stories once a month. Once Duersch joined in 2010, they both decided to incorporate military history as well.

“We sometimes have presentations on different topics,” says Merritt. “We also watch films and documentaries that have to do with major battles, which can lead to pretty good discussions and stories.”

Some veterans don’t wish to relive what they experienced. That’s OK, the men said. Others can’t watch movies related to the fighting they’ve seen. Often, veterans wish to talk about it. One resident, who had been a medic, earned a silver star for taking down a German tank with just one other soldier. Another resident said he met a German general in the middle of the road during a cease fire and had a conversation with him.

The purpose of the club is to provide a place for all Community First clients who served in the military to belong and find community among brothers and sisters of the armed forces.

Community First Solutions is proud to serve many veterans and for residents like Bill Merritt and Bill Duersch, who provide a place for them to feel supported and understood.

On Saturday, July 21st, Berkeley Square is hosting a Flightless Honor Flight with the Veterans Group. The free event is a simulation of a trip to Washington where veterans can visit memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices. The simulation allows veterans who are unable to make the trip, experience it close to home. If you know a veteran who would like to participate in the Virtual Honor Flight, please contact 513-785-2020 .