YCQM July 7, 2019

BURLINGTON, VT Darren: GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.
I'M DARREN PERRON. RIGHT NOW ON CHANNEL 3'S "YOU
CAN QUOTE ME," A VERMONT SOLDIER COMES OUT LIVE ON TV
DURING PRIDE CELEBRATIONS AND HIS STORY GOES VIRAL.
HE JOINS US HERE IN THE STUDIO THIS MORNING TO TALK ABOUT IT.
>>> ALSO, RAISED VT.
YOU MAY HAVE SEEN THE LOGO ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
WE MEET THE MEN BEHIND IT. FIND OUT WHY THEY LAUNCHED THE BRAND AND HOW THEY'RE HELPING THEIR COMMUNITY DOING SO.
>>> PLUS, VERMONT'S ATTORNEY
GENERAL TALKS ABOUT THE STATE'S
LAWSUIT AGAINST 11 COMPANIES
OVER WATER QUALITY.
>>> AND KIDS IN CRISIS.
WAITING IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM
FOR DAYS, EVEN WEEKS FOR MENTAL
HEALTH TREATMENT.
AND THAT'S WHERE WE BEGIN THIS
MORNING.
HUNDREDS OF KIDS END UP IN THE
E.R. EACH YEAR AROUND VERMONT
FOR PSYCHIATRIC HELP, AND MOST
GO HOME.
BUT WHEN THEY NEED A HIGHER
LEVEL OF CARE, THAT'S WHEN WE
FOUND THE BOTTLENECK BEGINS.
THE VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL
HEALTH SAYS LAST YEAR 52 KIDS
WHO WERE CONSIDERED A DANGER TO
THEMSELVES OR OTHERS HAD TO WAIT
FOR PLACEMENT.
THEIR AVERAGE STENT IN THE E.R.
WAS ABOUT THREE DAYS.
THE DEPARTMENT DOESN'T HAVE THE
NUMBERS FOR FAMILIES WHOSE
CHILDREN SOUGHT HELP ON THEIR
OWN.
BUT THE E.R. CAN BE AN
OVERWHELMING PLACE FOR A CHILD,
AND WHILE EVERYONE WE SPOKE WITH
AGREES, KIDS SHOULD NOT BE
WAITING IN THE E.R., WHEN WE
ASKED HOW TO FIX THE PROBLEM, NO
ONE HAD A CLEAR SOLUTION.
CAT VIGLIENZONI INVESTIGATED THE
PROBLEM AND SPOKE WITH A FAMILY
WHO SAYS THEY ARE FRUSTRATED BY
A SYSTEM THAT THEY BELIEVE IS
FAILING.
SHE JOINS US NOW.
CAT, GOOD MORNING.
>> Cat: GOOD MORNING, DARREN.
THE MOM WHO CAME FORWARD TO
SHARE HER SON'S STORY WITH ME
SAYS SHE DID IT BECAUSE SHE
WANTS TO SHINE A LIGHT ON A
PROBLEM THAT PUTS HER FAMILY AND
CHILD IN DANGER.
AND TO LET OTHER PARENTS
STRUGGLING TO GET MENTAL HEALTH
CARE FOR THEIR CHILDREN KNOW
THEY'RE NOT ALONE.
>> HE'S A FANTASTIC KID.
HE IS CREATIVE AND ATHLETIC AND
JUST LIKE -- HE'S FUNNY.
>> Cat: KAITLIN RAY LOVES HER
SON.
THE 11-YEAR-OLD PLAYS BASKETBALL
AND ADORES HIS PET HAMSTER, BUT
SHE'S ASKED US NOT TO SHOW HIS
FACE BECAUSE HE STRUGGLES WITH
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES.
SERIOUS ENOUGH THAT POLICE AND
CRISIS RESPONDERS HAVE HAD TO
GET INVOLVED.
IS THE SYSTEM WORKING?
>> THE SYSTEM IS NOT WORKING AT
ALL.
>> Cat: SHE SAYS THEY WANT HIM
TO GET TREATMENT.
HE'S ALREADY BEEN THROUGH THE
HOWARD CENTER AND HOSPITALIZED
AT BRATTLEBORO RETREAT, BUT LAST
MONTH, HE ENDED UP IN THE E.R.
AGAIN AND RAY SAYS HE WAITED
THERE FOR A BED TO OPEN UP AT
THE RETREAT FOR 13 DAYS.
>> IT'S AN EMERGENCY ROOM AND
IT'S MEANT FOR EMERGENCIES, NOT
MEANT TO PEOPLE TO SIT THERE
WAITING FOR, YOU KNOW, UPWARDS
OF TWO WEEKS FOR SOME SORT OF
TREATMENT.
>> Cat: AND AT THE END OF IT
ALL, SHE SAYS BRATTLEBORO
RETREAT DECIDED NOT TO TAKE HER
SON, LEAVING THEM BACK AT SQUARE
ONE.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE WHEN YOU
GET TO THE E.R. AND YOU'VE BEEN
WAITING THERE FOR A WEEK, UP TO
TWO, AND THEN YOU FIND OUT THAT
YOU JUST HAVE TO TAKE YOUR CHILD
HOME?
>> IT'S VERY FRUSTRATING AND
IT'S HEARTBREAKING.
YOU CAN GET SOMETHING FIXED OR
YOU CAN WORK TOWARDS GETTING
SOMETHING FIXED, IT'S A POSITIVE
THING, AND THEN TO BE HOLD
THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, IT'S
REALLY DEVASTATING.
>> Cat: PSYCHIATRISTS SAY THE
LONGER A CHILD WAITS TO GET
APPROPRIATE CARE, THE WORSE THE
MENTAL ILLNESS GETS.
>> IT'S FRUSTRATING FOR
EVERYBODY.
>> Cat: A CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST AND
DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR FOR THE
DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH SAYS
VERMONT HAS GOOD CLINICIANS AND
GOOD INTEGRATION BETWEEN THE
SCHOOL SYSTEM AND PRIMARY CARE,
BUT --
>> WE'RE ABSOLUTELY STRUGGLING
IN SOME AREAS.
>> Cat: HE THINKS KIDS ARE
WAITING IN THE E.R. FOR TOO
LONG.
BRATTLEBORO RETREAT IS THE
ONIN-STATE INPATIENT OPTION FOR
VERMONT'S KIDS.
I DUG INTO THE NUMBERS AND FOUND
OUT THERE ARE 30 BEDS AT THE
RETREAT FOR KIDS AND THEY'RE
SPLIT BETWEEN TWO AGE GROUPS.
THEY TELL ME THEY HAD NEARLY 800
YOUTH ADMISSIONS LAST YEAR, MANY
OF THEM REPEAT VISITORS.
WHEN I ASKED THEM IF THEY THINK
THE STATE NEEDS MORE BEDS FOR
KIDS IN CRISIS, THEY SAY IT'S
HARD TO SAY.
LAST YEAR, THEY HAD ABOUT 11,000
BED DAYS AVAILABLE FOR YOUTH AND
ABOUT 9500 OF THEM WERE ACTUALLY
USED, SO IN THEORY, THERE SHOULD
BE FOUR BEDS AVAILABLE EACH DAY,
BUT THE RETREAT SAYS THE REALITY
IS THE DEMAND FOR MENTAL HEALTH
TREATMENT GOES UP AND DOWN, SO
SOME DAYS THERE ARE NO BEDS
AVAILABLE AND OTHER DAYS THERE
ARE SEVERAL.
MANY OF THE MENTAL HEALTH
OFFICIALS I SPOKE WITH SAY THEY
BELIEVE THERE IS A NEED.
>> THE BOTTOM LINE IS, I THINK
WE DO NEED MORE ACUTE CARE BEDS.
>> Cat: AND HE SAYS THE IT WOULD
LIKELY SHORTEN WAIT TIMES.
THAT'S WHERE THE DEPARTMENT OF
MENTAL HEALTH IS FOCUSING.
THE COMMISSIONER SAYS ADDING
MORE BEDS IS NOT THE ONLY FIX.
HER DEPARTMENT IS LOOKING AT
SEVERAL SOLUTIONS, INCLUDING
INTERVENING EARLIER WITH
CHILDREN, STRENGTHENING MENTAL
HEALTH SERVICES IN PUBLIC
SCHOOLS, STRENGTHENING
OUTPATIENT PROGRAMS, AND
ADDRESSING STIGMA.
BUT SHE SAYS THEY ROUTINELY HEAR
FROM FAMILIES WHO ARE STRUGGLING
IN THE SYSTEM AND WANTS PARENTS
TO KNOW THEY ARE LISTENING.
>> THESE STORIES ARE
HEARTBREAKING FROM MY
PERSPECTIVE.
>> Cat: KAITLIN RAY SAYS SHE
WANTS LESS TALK AND MORE ACTION.
>> THINGS DON'T MOVE VERY FAST.
>> Cat: BECAUSE EACH DAY HER
CHILD ISN'T IN TREATMENT PUTS
HIM AND THE REST OF HER FAMILY
AT RISK.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE SCARIEST
MOMENT FOR YOUR FAMILY SO FAR?
>> IT'S EVERY TIME THAT I FEEL
COMPLETELY HELPLESS, WHEN I KNOW
WHAT'S BEST FOR MY CHILD AND I
CAN'T DO IT.
>> Darren: SO CAT, WHAT IS THE
MENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT DOING
ABOUT THIS?
>> Cat: THEY ARE IN THE MIDDLE
OF AN EVALUATION PROCESS AS
MANDATED BY LAWMAKERS TO ASSESS
HOW VERMONT'S MENTAL HEALTH
SYSTEM IS WORKING.
RIGHT NOW, THEY'RE DOING A
LISTENING TOUR AROUND THE STATE
TO HEAR FROM PARENTS ABOUT
WHAT'S WORKING AND WHAT'S NOT
AND THEN DEVELOP A TEN-YEAR
VISION.
THEY ARE PLANNING TO HAVE THAT
DONE FOR THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE
SESSION.
>> Darren: WHAT ROLE DOES THE
DEPARTMENT FOR CHILDREN AND
FAMILIES PLAY IN THIS?
>> Cat: SOMETIMES A PARENT MIGHT
CHOOSE TO TURN OVER CUSTODY OF
THEIR CHILD TO DCS BECAUSE THE
DEPARTMENT MAY BE ABLE TO GET
THEM BETTER OR DIFFERENT ACCESS
TO TREATMENT.
IT WAS ONE OF THE OPTIONS THE
MOM I SPEAK WITH SAID SHE WAS
FACED WITH WHEN THEY COULDN'T
STAY IN THE HOSPITAL ANY LONGER
AND COULDN'T GET A BED EITHER.
BUT SHE SAID THAT WAS NOT AN
OPTION SHE WANTED TO CONSIDER.
I DID SPEAK TO ANOTHER MOM, NO
THE ON CAMERA, WHO TOLD ME SHE
DID MAKE THAT DECISION FOR HER
CHILDREN BECAUSE IT WAS THE ONLY
WAY TO GET THE CARE NEEDED, BUT
SHE SAYS IT WAS A HARD DECISION
TO MAKE.
THE DOCTOR SAYS THE PARENT DOES
REMAIN INVOLVED IN THE CHILD'S
CARE AND HAS SOME INFLUENCE ON
THE DECISIONS MADE.
>> Darren: SO IF THERE'S A WAIT
FOR IN-STATE CARE, DO FAMILIES
HAVE THE OPTION OF SENDING THEIR
KIDS TO OUT-OF-STATE FACILITIES?
>> Cat: YEAH, WITH A CAVEAT.
I'M TOLD INSURANCE MAY BE AN
ISSUE FOR SOME FAMILIES IN THAT,
BUT JUST THE VERMONT YOUTH
COVERED BY MEDICAID, THERE WERE
19 OUT-OF-STATED A MISSIONS LAST
YEAR.
I SHOULD NOTE THAT IS NOT
SEPARATE PEOPLE.
SOME YOUTH MAY HAVE BEEN
HOSPITALIZED MORE THAN ONCE OUT
OF STATE.
NO ONE CAN BE INVOLUNTARILY
HOSPITALIZED OUT OF STATE, SO
THESE WERE ALL CHILDREN WHO
AGREED TO THAT SORT OF CARE.
STILL, ACCESS WITH THAT IS AN
ISSUE.
THE MOM I SPEAK WITH FOR MY
STORY SAID WHEN THEY TRIED TO
SEEK OUT OF STATE CARE FOR THE
CHILD, THE FACILITIES ACTUALLY
NEVER GOT BACK TO HER AND IT'S
NOT THE FIRST CHOICE EITHER
BECAUSE OF THE DISTANCE IT PUTS
THEM BETWEEN THEM AND THEIR
CHILD.
THERE IS NOW A NEW PEDIATRIC
PSYCH WARD OVER AT PLATTSBURGH,
BUT THEY'RE STILL DEALING WITH
INSURANCE ISSUES.
>> Darren: DO FAMILIES KNOW HOW
TO NAVIGATE THE MENTAL HEALTH
SYSTEM?
IT'S VERY COMPLICATED.
>> Cat: THAT'S WHAT EVERYONE
WILL TELL YOU.
THEY DESCRIBE IT AS PRETTY
CHALLENGING.
I ASKED THE DOCTOR AND HE HAD A
SIMILAR OPINION.
ARE THEY AWARE OF HOW TO
NAVIGATE THE SYSTEM?
>> NO, THEY'RE NOT.
I MEAN, IT'S A VERY COMPLEX AND
CONFUSING SYSTEM.
I'M ONE OF THE MEDICAL DIRECTORS
FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL
HEALTH AND IT'S CONFUSING FOR
ME.
IT'S CONFUSING FOR ME SOMETIMES
TO NAVIGATE FOR MY OWN PATIENTS,
SO I CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT IT'S
LIKE FOR PARENTS WHO HAVE NO
EXPERIENCE NAVIGATING THE
SYSTEM.
>> Cat: AND AS TO WHAT'S DONE TO
FIX THAT, THE MENTAL HEALTH
DEPARTMENT SAYS IT IS IN THE
MIDDLE OF DESIGNING A BROCHURE
FOR FAMILIES THAT WILL HELP
GUIDE THEM ON WHAT THE NEXT
STEPS ARE IF THEY END UP IN THE
EMERGENCY ROOM WITH A CHILD WHO
NEEDS MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT.
>> Darren: CAT, THANK YOU FOR
THIS VERY IMPORTANT
INVESTIGATION.
>>> STILL AHEAD ON "YOU CAN
QUOTE ME," THE STATE'S LEGAL
FIGHT OVER CONTAMINATED WATER.
ALSO, A VERMONT SOLDIER
ANNOUNCES HE'S GAY ON LIVE TV.
SEE WHAT'S HAPPENED AFTER, AND
NEXT, A BRAND WITH A PLAN.
WE SHOWCASE VERMONT AND SEE HOW.
>> Darren: VERMONT TAKING ON
CHEMICAL COMPANIES OVER PFA
CONTAMINATION.
THE CHEMICALS ARE LINKED TO
CANCER.
CAT VIGLIENZONI SPOKE WITH
VERMONT ATTORNEY GENERAL T.J.
DONOVAN ABOUT WHY THE STATE IS
SUING AND HOW WIDESPREAD THE
PROBLEM IS.
>> Donovan: WELL, WE FILED
LAWSUITS AGAINST 11 CORPORATIONS
FOR CONTAMINATING VERMONT'S AIR,
OUR SOIL, OUR WATER, AND
PEOPLE'S BODIES IN THIS STATE BY
PUTTING DANGEROUS CHEMICALS,
PFAS, INTO OUR ENVIRONMENT AND
HERE'S THE THING.
THEY KNEW THEY WERE DANGEROUS
AND THEY NEVER TOLD US.
THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR
DECADES.
IT'S TIME TO HOLD THEM
ACCOUNTABLE.
THIS STARTED IN BENNINGTON, BUT
THERE CONTAMINATION IS ALL
THROUGHOUT THE STATE.
OUR FOCUS ORIGINALLY WAS
BRINGING CLEAN DRINKING WATER TO
THE RESIDENTS OF BENNINGTON.
WE GOT THAT JOB DONE.
ACCESS TO CLEAN DRINKING WATER
AS HUMAN RIGHT.
NOW IT'S TIME TO BRING
ACCOUNTABILITY TO THESE
CORPORATIONS, THESE
MULTI-NATIONAL CHEMICAL
CORPORATIONS, FOR CONTAMINATING
VERMONT'S ENVIRONMENT.
>> Cat: TO BE CLEAR FOR OUR
VIEWERS, ST. COBANE IS NOT
INVOLVED IN THIS LAWSUIT?
>> Donovan: IT IS 11
CORPORATIONS, 3M, DUPONT, SOME
OTHERS, BUT NOT THAT ONE.
>> Cat: WHAT DO VERMONTERS NEED
TO KNOW ABOUT THOSE CHEMICALS IN
TERMS OF WHAT THEY SHOULD DO IF
THEY THINK, IT'S NOT JUST IN
BENNINGTON, WAS IT IN MY AREA?
WHAT KIND OF AREAS OF THE STATE
ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
>> Donovan: LET ME BE CLEAR.
UNFORTUNATELY, WE'RE GOING TO
FIND PFAS CONTAMINATION IN EVERY
PART OF THE STATE.
LET ME ALSO BE CLEAR, THERE ARE
SIGNIFICANT HEALTH RISKS
ASSOCIATED WITH THE CHEMICAL.
I DON'T WANT TO SCARE PEOPLE,
BUT WE WANT TO INFORM VERMONTERS
THAT THESE CHEMICALS ARE
EVERYWHERE IN THIS STATE AND
FRANKLY, WE'RE ALREADY FINDING
THAT THEY'RE IN ALL CORNERS OF
OUR STATE, AND THAT THERE ARE
SOME SERIOUS HEALTH RISKS
ASSOCIATED WITH THESE CHEMICALS.
SO VERMONTERS SHOULD BE
INFORMED, CALL MY OFFICE, WE'RE
HAPPY TO TALK TO THEM.
MY ENVIRONMENTAL TEAM LED BY ROD
McDOUGAL AND HIS TEAM DO A
TREMENDOUS JOB WORKING WITH THE
AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND
WHAT WE DID IN BENNINGTON,
MAKING SURE PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS
TO CLEAN DRINKING WATER, THAT'S
THE STANDARD.
WE WANT TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE
HAS NOT ONLY ACCESS TO CLEAN
DRINKING WATER, BUT MAKING SURE
THEY HAVE THE INFORMATION THEY
NEED TO KNOW TO PROTECT
THEMSELVES AND THEIR HEALTH.
>> Cat: WHAT ARE WHY LOOKING AT
FOR A TIMETABLE WHEN WE MIGHT
FIND OUT WHAT RECOURSE THERE IS
FOR VERMONT?
>> Donovan: THAT'S EXACTLY WHY
WE SUED THESE COMPANIES IN
VERMONT STATE COURT BECAUSE WE
WANT TO MAKE VERMONT WHOLE.
WE WANT TO MAKE SURE WE CLEAN UP
THE CONTAMINATION THROUGHOUT THE
STATE AND PROTECT VERMONT'S
ENVIRONMENT.
AS YOU KNOW, THERE IS A CLASS
ACTION LAWSUIT IN TERMS OF
INDIVIDUALS BEING BROUGHT DOWN
IN BENNINGTON COUNTY, SO WHAT
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE IS
REPRESENT THE STATE OF VERMONT
AND REPRESENT THAT STEWARDSHIP
OF OUR ENVIRONMENTAL, MAKING
SURE THAT THAT CONS THAT NATION
IS CLEANED UP AND WE'RE MAKING
VERMONT WHOLE.
>> Cat: WHAT KINDS OF WAYS WOULD
THESE CHEMICALS HAVE GOTTEN IN?
ARE WE TALKING FIREFIGHTING
FOAM, WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
>> Donovan: YES, FIREFIGHTING
FOAM IS A VERY GOOD EXAMPLE.
TEFLON IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE, SO
QUITE UBIQUITOUS PRODUCTS THESE
CHEMICALS ARE IN AND
UNFORTUNATELY, THIS
CONTAMINATION IS GOING TO BE
WIDE VED IN OUR STATE.
>> Cat: IS THIS LIKELY TO GET
SETTLED OR LIKELY TO BE FOUGHT
ALL THE WAY?
>> Donovan: TOO EARLY TO TELL,
BUT WE'RE READY TO FIGHT.
>> Darren: AS CAT AND THE A.G.
TOUCHED ON, PFAS HAVE BEEN USED
IN TEFLON AND OTHER NONSTICK
COATINGS MEANT TO PROTECT COMMON
CONSUMER GOODS ACROSS COUNTY
UNITED STATES.
PFAS CONTAMINATION WAS DETECTED
IN 2016 IN PRIVATE DRINKING
WATER WELLS IN NORTH BENNINGTON.
IT HAS SINCE BEEN DETECTED IN
NUMEROUS OTHER LOCATIONS,
INCLUDING AIRPORTS, WHERE IT WAS
USED IN FIREFIGHTING FOAM.
>>> A BRAND TOUTING VERMONT AND
ALL THE STATE OFFERS IS CATCHING
ON ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
THE LOGO, RAISED VT.
IT WAS STARTED BY VERMONT NATIVE
KEVIN PELLON AND TRANSPLANT
GEOFF STRAWBRIDGE, THOUGH HE
MARRIED A VERMONTER.
THEY ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT LIVING
AND WORKING IN THE STATE AND ARE
SPREADING THE LOVE, LETTING
OTHER VERMONTERS TAKE OVER THEIR
SOCIAL MEDIA, TO SHARE WHY THEY
LOVE IT TOO.
AND ON TOP OF THAT, THEY'RE
USING THE PLATFORM TO HELP
OTHERS IN THE COMMUNITY AND BOTH
MEN JOIN ME NOW.
GOOD MORNING, TO YOU.
>> GOOD MORNING.
>> GOOD MORNING.
THANKS TO HAVING US.
>> Darren: YOU BET.
THANKS FOR BEING HERE.
TELL US HOW THIS GOT UNDER WAY.
>> A LONG STORY SHORT, I LEFT A
CAREER JOB AFTER 15 YEARS, HAD A
TOUGH TIME FINDING A JOB IN
VERMONT.
DID LOTS OF ODDS AND ENDS TO
HELP BRING INCOME TO THE FAMILY,
AND NOVEMBER 2016 AFTER A FEW
HEADY TOPPERS AND OTHER LOCAL
BEER, I STARTED A BRAND FOR
THEM, RAISED VT, AND IT STARTED
GROWING FAST ORGANICALLY AND WE
HAD FOLLOWSER AFTER A YEAR.
PEOPLE STARTED CATCHING ON TO
THE FASHION AND WE LOVE SHOW
CASING VERMONT AND THE HARD WORK
WE DO.
THAT AND YOU PARTNER HOW?
>> WE MET OVER LUNCH AND I HAVE
A REAL PASSION FOR VERMONT AND
WE REALIZED THAT VERMONT IS A
VERY SPECIAL PLACE, INCLUSIVE OF
EVERYONE.
THE HILLS, THE VALLEYS, THE
TERRAIN, AND WE WANTED TO
RECOGNIZE THAT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
AND THAT'S HOW WE GOT STARTED.
>> Darren: SPEAKING OF SOCIAL
MEDIA, YOU CATCH IMAGES OF
VERMONT AND VERMONTERS DOING
VERMONT-Y THINGS.
TELL US WHAT FOLKS CAN EXPECT IF
THEY LOG ON?
>> THE NEAT THING ABOUT
RAISED VT IS IF YOU USE THE
RAISED VT, WE WANT TO SEE WHAT
YOUR LIVES ARE LIKE ON A DAILY
BASIS, WHAT YOU LOVE, YOU DON'T
LOVE.
>> Darren: AND YOU EXPANDED THIS
TO MERCHANDISE.
TAKE A LOOK AT THE DESK HERE.
WE'RE SURROUNDED BY HATS AND
T-SHIRTS.
TELL US HOW THAT HAPPENED?
>> PEOPLE ASKED ON INSTAGRAM IF
WE HAD MERCHANDISE AND AT THAT
POINT, WE DIDN'T, SO WE
BASICALLY LAUNCHED IT OUT OF A
CAR.
STARTED WITH 25 T-SHIRTS, TOLD
THEM AND PUT THAT MONEY AND
REPURCHASED MORE PRODUCT.
MET A DESIGNER, DAVID, WHO
DESIGNED OUR NEWEST LOGO.
HE BELIEVE IN THE BRAND, SO HE
STARTED COMING UP WITH
CREATIVITY AND SAW THE PASSION
OF WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO.
THE SKY IS THE LIMIT FOR WHERE
WE'RE AT, BUT IT'S FUN.
>> Darren: YOU SHARED YOUR
SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS WITH
OTHER PEOPLE, LETTING THEM TAKE
OVER.
TELL US ABOUT THAT.
>> WE LIKE TO HAVE OTHER
VERMONTERS CELEBRATE AND
RECOGNIZE, SO THEY DO TAKEOVERS
AND EFFECTIVELY ONCE A WEEK OR
ONCE A WEEKEND, WE'LL HAVE OTHER
VERMONTERS SHARE THEIR STORIES
AND THEIR EXPERIENCES THAT MAKE
THIS AN INCREDIBLY BRAVE LITTLE
STATE.
>> Darren: YOU LAUNCHED ANOTHER
LINE RECENTLY AND THAT'S WHEN
RAISED 14 -- 14th STATE, OF
COURSE -- SO THIS ONE IS
PARTIALLY A BENEFIT FOR THE JOSH
PALLOTTA FUND.
EXPLAIN TO FOLKS WHAT THAT IS.
>> SO I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT WOULD
BE TO BREW BEER, BUT I DON'T
HAVE THE -- WE DIDN'T HAVE THE
CAPABILITY TO DO IT, BUT WE
REACHED OUT T 14th STAR AND
THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A NEAT
COLAB BECAUSE IT WOULD BE NICE
TO GIVE BACK TO OTHER
NONPROFITS, AND THEY CREATED A
BEER FOR US AND THEY SELL AT
THEIR FACTORY, SO IT'S NEAT TO
GIVE MONEY BACK TO ANOTHER
FOUNDATION THAT SUPPORTS OTHER
LOCAL VERMONTERS.
>> Darren: AND THIS ONE
SPECIFICALLY IS FOR VETERANS WHO
ARE SUFFERING FROM PTSD.
>> CORRECT.
>> Darren: AND YOU'VE DONE OTHER
BENEFITS AS WELL.
>> YEAH, THIS ONE UP HERE WE DID
FOR THE FLYING RYAN FOUNDATION,
IT WAS NEAT.
RYAN WAS FROM VERMONT, GOES
AROUND AND THEY DO SCHOLARSHIPS
PROGRAMS FOR HIGH SCHOOL
STUDENTS, AND WE THOUGHT IT
WOULD BE NEAT TO CREATE A HAT
WITH THEM AND DEDONATED MONEY TO
THAT -- WE DONATED MONEY TO THAT
FOUNDATION AS WELL.
>> Darren: SO WHAT'S NEXT FOR
RAISED VT?
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?
>> WE'RE PARTNERING WITH LOTS OF
BRAND TON GET THE WORD OUT.
WE HAD A RECENT PARTNERSHIP WITH
BAG BALM, SO LOTS OF FUN.
WE'RE LOOKING TO FIND NEW AND
EXCITING COMPANIES TO SHOWS
CASE.
>> AND I HAVE A BIGGER VISION.
MAYBE WE DO RAISED COLORADO OR
RAISED NEW HAMPSHIRE, BUT
THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS WHERE
PEOPLE ARE PROUD OF WHERE
THEY'RE FROM.
>> Darren: GOOD LUCK TO BOTH OF
YOU.
>> HI, RYAN AND CORA.
>> Darren: THE KIDS, RIGHT?
THANKS, GUYS.
>>> UP NEXT, A VERMONT SOLDIER
COMES OUT ON LIVE TV AND HAS A
MESSAGE TO OTHER SERVICE MEMBERS
TOO.
MEET HIM AFTER THE BREAK.
>> Darren: TENS OF THOUSANDS OF
PEOPLE TOOK TO THE STREETS OF
NEW YORK FOR THE LARGEST LGBTQ
CELEBRATION IN THE WORLD.
IT WAS THE FIRST TIME WORLD
PRIDE WAS HELD IN THE U.S.
IT WAS A HISTORIC CELEBRATION.
THE MARCH COINCIDED WITH THE
50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE STONE
WALL RIOTS, CONSIDERED THE
CATALYST FOR THE MODERN GAY
RIGHTS MOVEMENT.
IT WAS ALSO MONUMENTAL FOR THIS
PAN.
A VERMONT SOLDIER, SPECIALIST
BRION HOUSTON WITH THE VERMONT
NATIONAL GUARD.
HE WAS WATCHING THE PARADE WITH
FRIENDS AND HIS COUSIN WHEN A
REPORTER ASKED IF HE WAS OUT TO
HIS COLLEAGUES IN THE MILITARY.
HOUSTON ANSWERED, THIS IS MY
COMING OUT.
THE INTERVIEW WENT VIRAL AND HAS
BEEN SHARED WORLDWIDE AND
SPECIALIST HOUSTON JOINS ME NOW.
GOOD MORNING TO YOU.
>> Houston: GOOD MORNING,
DARREN.
>> Darren: DID YOU, TO BE CLEAR,
COME OUT TO YOUR FAMILY AND
FRIENDS BEFORE?
THIS WAS JUST, YOU WERE NOT OUT
TO THE MILITARY, CORRECT?
>> Houston: THAT'S CORRECT.
I CAME OUT TO MY FAMILY IN 2011
AND, YOU KNOW, BEING ACTIVE
MILITARY, IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT
FOR ME.
I WAS AFRAID.
>> Darren: SO WHAT HAS BEEN THE
REACTION SINCE THIS ALL UNFOLDED
THE?
THE.
>> Houston: OUTPOURING OF
SUPPORT HAS BEEN INCREDIBLE.
MY COMMANDER ACTUALLY SENT ME A
TEXT SAYING, I SUPPORT YOU 100%,
AND I'VE RECEIVED A LOT OF
SUPPORT AND ACCOLADES FROM MY
PEERS IN THE MILITARY ON SOCIAL
MEDIA.
>> Darren: SO THAT WAS GOING TO
BE MY NEXT QUESTION.
WERE YOU NERVOUS AT ALL IN
COMING OUT AND SHARING THIS WITH
THE GUARD AND WHAT THE REACTION
WOULD BE?
>> Houston: I WAS A LITTLE
NERVOUS, BUT SEEING HOW IT WAS
LIVE TV, I QUICKLY SNAPPED OUT
OF IT AND SAID, YOU KNOW, THIS
IS THE CHANCE.
THIS IS THE MOMENT I NEED TO
COME OUT AND I'M GLAD I DID.
>> Darren: DID YOU EXPECT THIS
KIND OF REACTION?
>> Houston: NOT AT ALL.
I DID NOT EXPECT IT TO GO
WORLDWIDE.
I RECEIVED MESSAGES FROM AROUND
THE WORLD, HAITI, AUSTRALIA,
GERMANY, JUST PRAISING THE
COURAGE THAT IT TOOK FOR ME TO
COME OUT.
>> Darren: YOU'VE SERVED WITH
THE GUARD SINCE 2007.
YOU'VE DEPLOYED TWICE TO
AFGHANISTAN, TO IRAQ, AND YOU
JUST GOT BACK FROM YOUR LATEST
DEPLOYMENT IN MAY.
YOU SAID IN THE INTERVIEW AT THE
PRIDE PARADE, WHICH WAS THE
FIRST TIME YOU HAD EVER ATTENDED
A PRIDE, RIGHT?
>> Houston: THAT'S CORRECT.
>> Darren: YOU SAID THERE'S NO
BETTER TIME TO BE OUT IN THE
MILITARY THAN RIGHT NOW.
WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?
>> Houston: I THINK THAT THERE'S
A LOT OF SUPPORT IN THE
MILITARY, ESPECIALLY THE LGBT
COMMUNITY, AND I WANT TO BE
THERE EMPOWER OTHERS THAT CAN'T,
THAT DON'T HAVE THE COURAGE TO
COME OUT.
I AM JUST ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL
THAT'S SERVING THE VERMONT
NATIONAL GUARD AND THE UNITED
STATES ARMY, AND TO BE ABLE TO
COME OUT ON LIVE TELEVISION
TAKES A LOT OF COURAGE.
>> Darren: IT CERTAINLY DID.
WE MET IN AFGHANISTAN, ACTUALLY,
WHEN I WAS EMBEDDED WITH THE
VERMONT NATIONAL GUARD THERE,
AND AT THAT TIME, SURVEYS WERE
BEING HANDED OUT TO MILITARY
MEMBERS ABOUT THE "DON'T ASK
DON'T TELL" POLICY.
I'M SURE YOU REMEMBER THAT.
>> Houston: DIRECT.
>> Darren: ULTIMATELY, THAT
ENDED IN 2011.
DID THAT PLAY A FACTOR IN WHY
YOU WERE NOT OUT AT ALL IN THE
MILITARY, THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE
WAS THIS POLICY WHEN YOU FIRST
ENLISTED?
>> Houston: IT WAS.
IT AFFECTED ME A LOT.
I LIVED WITH THE DEEP DARK
SHADOWS WHERE I COULD NOT BE
MYSELF BECAUSE I WAS AFRAID OF
WHAT MY PEERS WOULD THINK, AND
ALSO THE LEGALITY PART OF IT.
YOU WANT, THE "DON'T ASK DON'T
TELL" POLICY.
>> Darren: WHAT'S YOUR MESSAGE
TO OTHER MILITARY MEMBERS WHO
MAY NOT BE OUT YET?
>> Houston: THE BIGGEST THING I
WOULD SAY IS TO ASK YOUR PEERS
BEFORE DOING ANYTHING.
CHECK IN WITH THEM, ASK THEM HOW
THEY DID IT.
ASK THEM HOW THE PROCESS IS.
IT'S DIFFERENT FOR EVERYBODY.
THE PROCESS OF COMING OUT CAN
AFFECT PEOPLE DIFFERENTLY AND,
YOU KNOW, WITH THE DIFFERENT
DEPARTMENTS, DIFFERENT JOBS.
>> Darren: ARE YOU GLAD YOU DID?
>> Houston: ABSOLUTELY.
I DON'T REGRET IT AND I WON'T
TURN BACK.
>> Darren: SPECIALIST BRION
HOUSTON, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
YOUR SERVICE AND THANK YOU FOR
SHARING YOUR STORY.
>> Houston: THANKS SO MUCH FOR
HAVING ME.
>> Darren: AND THANK YOU ALL FOR
JOINING US.
TAKE CARE.
THE NEWS CONTINUES NEXT RIGHT
HERE ON CHANNEL 3.
HAVE A GREAT DAY, EVERYBODY.
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