The Santa Clarita Valley Veterans Services Collaborative opened doors this week on a location to connect veterans with local services and, as was the case a few times Wednesday, help them find out if there are any benefits they are eligible for that they aren’t receiving.
Greg Nutter, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War from 1967-68, knows the frustration many veterans feel in returning from combat.
Although when he came back from his service in 1968, the attitude felt different than it is today, he said.
“People just didn’t appreciate Vietnam veterans at all,” he said. “I just tried to forget about it and I went to school (with assistance he earned through the Army).”
Now, he appreciates that people are thanked for their service, and he’s continuing to support the armed forces, but in a local capacity — volunteering for a morning shift running the collaborative’s new headquarters at 23222 Lyons Avenue, in Newhall.
One veteran dropped in after driving down Lyons Avenue and seeing the sign, and Nutter was able to connect him with one of the center’s resources specifically for helping with service claims, who was able to, within a very short period of time, offer the veteran some advice on the appeals process for his Veterans Administration, or V.A., claim, which the veteran appreciated, he said.
“A lot of (veterans) get turned away from the V.A., and then they get discouraged and they don’t go back,” he said. “And we’re here to help.”
He added that the center is not just there to handle V.A. claims, but also to offer a variety of local services from Santa Clarita Valley-based providers, such as dental clinics, counseling services, and a host of others who are on display at the new office, and online, by clicking here.
The office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, and Saturday and evenings by appointment.
The Veterans Services Collaborative is also planning for a grand opening ceremony this year, he said, but wanted to make the space available for veterans as soon as possible, so it had a “soft opening” on Monday.
The Veterans Services Collaborative also meets monthly at College of the Canyons to discuss outreach and service programs for veterans.
More information is available at the collaborative’s website: SCV-Vets.org.