Eighteen years after the nation was forever changed by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, veterans gathered at a Valencia parking lot, socializing and helping one another at the inaugural Santa Clarita Visit with a Vet event.
In the event held in front of a shopping mall on the corner of McBean Parkway and Decoro Drive, close to 100 veterans, their families, friends and neighbors gathered to talk about the community services available, which was the idea behind the event in the first place, according to organizers from the event’s host, the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative.
“It’s all about collaboration and veterans coming together, talking (and) sharing ideas. Talking about different resources and things they’re aware of,” said David Jackson, vice president of the nonprofit.
Jackson said in addition to the positive energy during the information sharing, it was also important for the politicians to be out there and see how the community can rally behind the SCV troops.
“They see how this community embraces veterans. And, so when they’re making decisions at the federal, state or county level, they know that this community embraces veterans, and they listen to our veterans and our needs,” said Jackson, referring to the various county, state and federal officials who had representatives present.
One member of the Veteran Services Collaborative said he attended the 6 p.m. meeting because he wanted to make sure others don’t have to wait as long as he did to get the information about the resources out there.
“The main thing with the collaborative is that it’s a resource center where … if a veteran with a disability comes out, there’s a veteran services officer that will help them with a claim,” said Ernesto Trevizo, a Marine Corps veteran who left the military in 2010. “There are a lot of volunteers that are very knowledgeable about real estate and food pantries. … Overall, this is making everybody aware of services the collaborative offers.”
In addition to helping with the Veterans Administration system and benefits for being a former service member, officials said the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative can help with things such as education, housing and financial services, among others.
For more information about the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative, visit their website at http://www.scv-vets.org.