Local veteran organizer Jeff Stabile wins state award

Vietnam era Air Force veteran Jeff Stabile. Dan Watson/The Signal

Jeff Stabile has a long and storied career in public service — one that’s garnered praise from local leaders, community members and those whose lives he’s bettered throughout the years.  

His work has not gone unnoticed, evident in the fact he was recently named Community Member of the Year for both the local unit and state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.  

“Beyond being an amazing community leader, he’s just an amazing person. He’s done so much, not just for our community, but also for our country,” said Larry Schallert, assistant director of College of the Canyons’ Student Health Center. “And so that somebody like him should receive this award, nobody is more deserving.” 

Stabile’s work in the community goes back decades, starting with a graffiti removal project he helmed in the early 1980s. At one point, the work was done by just him and a group of individuals assigned by the Probation Department. The city of Santa Clarita eventually adopted the project — which is still in operation today.   

Stabile was also instrumental in starting the Santa Clarita Valley chapter of Parents, Families, Friends & Allies of Lesbians & Gays. Stabile did so with his wife, Peggy, after their son came out to them in 1986. Stabile stated they eventually became board members of PFLAG in the Los Angeles area, but following a protest in their hometown, they decided something needed to be done locally.  

“In 1988, Peggy was scheduled to attend a training class for her counseling credential and the speaker was a woman who had started a support group at Fairfax High School called ‘Project 10’ for LGBTQ students. That evening over 400 protesters assembled on the median of Orchard Village Road, near St. Stephens Episcopal Church. They even bused in people from Anaheim,” wrote Stabile in his NASW background report. “When a local PTA president stated that her son had gone through elementary and high school and never had a gay person in their class, we knew we had to do something. In that same year Peggy and I co-founded the Santa Clarita chapter of PFLAG.” 

Since then, PFLAGSCV has been consistently meeting for over three decades. On the 30th anniversary of the chapter’s inception, the city of Santa Clarita certifiably recognized its achievements — as did state senators, members of Congress and other elected officials.  

Stabile’s advocacy for Santa Clarita’s LGBTQ community led to the city officially announcing last June as Pride Month in the valley — which had been celebrated unofficially in the valley for several years until then.  

In 2018, Stabile began volunteering at the Veterans Center on Lyons Avenue. Being a veteran himself, the work done at the center is close to his heart. Stabile said the Veterans Center is a place where veterans can talk about anything they want, such as trauma suffered during their time in the service. Often, Stabile said, a veteran will come in and share experiences that have never left their lips.  

Stabile and others at the Veterans Center have gathered more than 60 companies that offered services at either no or low cost to veterans including housing, employment, training, health care, financial/legal and several other services.  

Mental health within the veteran community has always been a priority of Stabile’s and the Veterans Center. Aside from providing food, housing and medical resources, Stabile is currently championing a petition to secure a social worker from the Veterans Affairs center in the San Fernando Valley.  

In addition to this, Stabile is also a member of the Suicide Prevention, Postvention and Wellness Committee, which meets monthly to discuss issues regarding suicides in Santa Clarita.  

His work with veterans, particularly in the mental health field, is what has garnered so much praise among his peers in the field — and ultimately, his two awards from the NASW.   

“Most of them don’t know me, but what they did is they just took a look at what my volunteer history had been. And they made the selection based on what I had done rather than who I was,” said Stabile. “So, it means a lot to be recognized for the work that I’m doing to help the community, especially the veterans community.”  

Stabile said these awards are the only ones he’s felt compelled to display in his home.  

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