Vet’s family to move into donated home

Elliott Wolf, Founder of the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative hands a stack of veteran profiles to board member and volunteer coordinator Patti Ryan at the Santa Clarita Veteran Center in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal
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A veteran’s group wrestling with the best way to give a donated house to a deserving vet released details Thursday of a shake-up on their board, which included replacing the president spearheading those efforts with an interim president.

Restructuring of the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative was done Wednesday when board members met, according to a news release issued by Collaborative spokesman Jeff Stabile.

Although he was not kicked off of the board, collaborative President Elliott Wolfe had ”his responsibilities as president reassigned,” according to Stabile.

The move now paves the way for veteran Ernesto “Ernie” Trevizo and his family to move into the donated home.

Delighted family

The family should be inside the home within the next 10 days, Stabile said in the news release.

“I’m so happy,” Trevizo’s father-in-law, Raul Lara, said Thursday.

“My daughter (Alyssa) is so happy,” he said, heaping praise on Albert Rodriguez, who was named interim president.

Stabile quoted Trevizo’s wife in the news release as saying: “The new leadership at the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative has instantly changed the demeanor, to serve, guide and protect the well-being of our veteran community. 

“Our family is thankful for this blessing and the support from the board members and new interim veteran president,” she said.

Interim president

Rodriguez, a 12-year combat Marine veteran and former vice president of the Collaborative, was promoted to the position of interim president; board member Jonathan Ahmadi was elected to the position of vice president.

Rodriguez was quoted in the news release saying: “It’s with great humility and tremendous passion that I accept this responsibility. The goal of the Santa Clarita Veterans Services Collaborative has been, from its inception, to create a welcoming environment for our veteran community. 

“This remains the goal of all our board members,” he was quoted as saying. “We strive to enable the collaborative to flourish and share its growth potential as we honor our service members and their families.”

Challenges

The board meeting and subsequent shakeup happened on the heels of a five-month struggle to put ownership of the donated house in the hands of a deserving vet.

In his news release, Stabile explained the challenges as: “A qualifying procedure was established and over 43 applications were submitted. The list was whittled down to five who went before an interview committee. 

“Ernest Trevizo, his wife and their two sons, who met all the required criteria, were selected as recipients of the house,” Stabile said. 

“There was a deliberation as to whether additional criteria should be added after the fact. In the board meeting of Feb. 26, the board voted to award the house under the original conditions as established at the onset of this process.”

Escrow signed

“Escrow has been signed and the collaborative is ecstatic to announce that the Trevizos should be moving into their new home within the next 10 days,” the release said.

As Stabile said in the news release: “The purpose of the collaborative has always been to respond to the needs of our veterans and to provide resources to assist them in their daily lives.

“At times, issues arise, and opinions differ as to how we can best serve those veterans,” he said. “When this occurs, the board of directors meets as a body to clarify its position and if there are differing points of view, a motion is made and then discussed. 

“This is followed by a vote which is determined by a simple majority. While some may not agree with the outcome, it is still the board’s responsibility to move forward to fulfill its mission to serve and meet the needs of veterans.”

When news of the donated house was first reported, the donation came with a set of restrictions, Wolfe said Wednesday, including a requirement that the vet get a loan.

Loan secured

When asked about the loan Thursday, Stabile said: “A VA (Veterans Affairs) loan has been secured.”

Commenting on the board actions, Ahmadi said, “It is my honor to have been elected by the board of directors to serve as vice president of the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative. 

“I am committed to faithfully serving our mission of caring for the interests of local veterans and their families,” Ahmadi was quoted as saying in the release, “while also ensuring the thousands of veterans in this community have access to the services and benefits they have earned.”

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On Twitter: @jamesarthurholt

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