It’s Time to Salute Those Who Help Our Veterans
There are several topics to cover today. First is this month’s Bravo Zulu. The second week of April is National Volunteer Week.
This is a perfect time to recognize all your volunteers for their generosity donating their time and talents to your cause. There are more than 30 veterans organizations in Ventura County, and they all require volunteers to operate.
This month’s Bravo Zulu goes to all our volunteers supporting veterans and veterans’ organizations in Ventura County. Your passionate service helping those who are less fortunate does make a difference in the lives of our veterans and their families. On behalf of our veteran community, thank you for giving your time and talents in the service of others.
The second topic is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Over the past eight months, the VA has removed more than 1,300 staff and suspended almost 500 staff members. This now includes the secretary, who was removed by President Donald Trump. The new secretary will have the monumental responsibility of overseeing the VA, the second-largest department in the federal government, employing nearly 280,000 personnel. The largest department is the Department of Defense.
In the 2019 budget, the president is proposing a total budget of $198.6 billion for the VA. This request, an increase of $12.1 billion over 2018, will provide for the nation’s veterans’ health care and access to benefits and services. In the budget, 60 percent supports VA benefits and 38.5 percent goes to health care. The remaining 1.5 percent is for the national cemeteries to include funding for nine new cemeteries, information technology improvements, construction and administration.
The VA’s budget request includes $2.9 billion for the Veterans Benefits Administration to administer the distribution of $116.9 billion in obligations for benefits and quality services to veterans and other beneficiaries. Notably, the budget will enable the VA to process 1.3 million veteran disability compensation rating claims, 4.5 million education claims and 2.9 million home loan guarantees for borrowers.
The medical care budget request of $76.5 billion will fund expanding health care services and choice to more than 9 million enrolled veterans. The budget includes $1.8 billion for programs for homeless and at-risk veterans, $382 million for opioid treatment and pain management safety, $511 million for gender-specific health-care services for women and $510 million for caregivers’ benefits.
Following the money to Ventura County, according to the CalVet Report to the Legislature in October 2017, 8.5 percent or $7.2 billion went to California veterans and $165 million went to our county’s veterans. On the health care side, funding is in the budget and plans are in place for a new expanded VA operated outpatient clinic opening in fall 2021 near Oxnard.
Don’t wait to find out if you are eligible. To file for benefits, call our Veteran Service Office at 805-477-5155 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage.
For VA health care eligibility, call 877-222-8387, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit https://www.vets.gov/health-care/eligibility.
The third topic is how to be a part of the local veterans-helping-veterans campaign. Thanks to the generous donations of many individuals throughout Ventura County and the surrounding areas, we have household items, clothing, wheelchairs, power chairs, scooters, bicycles and more available for veterans in need. We also accept in-kind donations, space permitting. If you need something or if you have items and/or military memorabilia you want to donate, contact Gold Coast Veterans Foundation at 482-6550.
April 4: 9-11 a.m., Naval Base Ventura County On-Base Employment Panel at Fleet, Family Support Center Hueneme. You must have base access to attend. Find out what jobs are available from on-base employers, receive guidance on resume writing and network with employers and job hunters. RSVP at 805-982-5037 or email email@example.com.
April 5: 10 a.m., Snapdragon Place Phase II groundbreaking, 11094 Snapdragon St., Ventura. In partnership with the Housing Authority of San Buenaventura, Cabrillo Economic Development Corp. will break ground on Snapdragon Place Phase II. The 22-unit project will include 11 special needs units, of which four are designated for homeless veterans eligible for VASH and seven non-VASH units.
April 15 deadline: James M. Ray Scholarship Program. The Vietnam Veterans of Ventura County’s scholarship program is named after James M. Ray. Staff Sgt. James Ray, U.S. Air Force, went to Vietnam in 1968 and was captured by the Viet Cong on March 18, 1968. He was on a road-clearing mission with the South Vietnamese Army when they came under attack. Ray was wounded by an explosion but managed to return fire on the enemy before he was taken captive. He died in captivity on Nov. 30, 1969. The scholarship program this year will provide three Ventura County high school seniors or community college students with scholarships. One will be for $2,000 and two will be $1,000 each. The awards are based on the judging of submitted essays. Applications are due April 15 and can be found at http://vvvc.org/scholarship.
April 18: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Naval Base Ventura County Career Fair, Bee-Hive Gym, Port Hueneme. You must have base access to attend. Build your future by attending the job fair and meeting companies and finding employment resources. More than 75 employers are attending. For more information, call the Fleet and Family Support Center at 805-982-5037.
May 11: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Goodwill Jobs 2.0 annual job fair, Goodwill Industries, 130 Lombard St. Oxnard. Meet with employers, talk to veteran employment specialists and find the resources to meet your needs at Goodwill Jobs’ annual job and resource fair. For more information, call Lisette Weatherby at 805-981-0130.
May 9: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., VA health care open house, Oxnard Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 1690 Universe Circle, Oxnard. The annual open house is provided to enroll veterans in VA health care and offer a job fair, information on the vet center and VA benefits, and meet with local college representatives about educational opportunities. For more information, contact Charles Green at 424-645-9865.
June 21-25: Vietnam War Moving Wall, Ventura County Government Center, Victoria Avenue and Telephone Road. The Vietnam Veterans of Ventura County are sponsoring the return of the wall. If you would like to make a donation to support this memorial event or become a member of the Vietnam Veterans of Ventura County, visit vvvc.org.
If you would like to learn about veteran services and programs or are in need of assistance navigating services please contact JC Oberst at 805-482-6550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: VC Star article from April 1, 2018