JC Oberst: This Month, We Pause to Honor our Military
This month’s Bravo Zulu goes to our men and women in the military defending our nation. May is Military Appreciation Month.
The military is in our backyard at Naval Base Ventura County. According to the base website, there are about 80 commands with a base population of more than 19,000 personnel.
Commands that work on the base encompass an extremely diverse set of specialties that support our Navy and our military, including three warfare centers: Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division, and Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center.
The base is also home to deployable units operating around the world, including the Pacific Seabees and the West Coast E-2C Hawkeyes. To everyone serving in uniform in the U.S. military, thank you for your service and your family’s sacrifices. We appreciate your patriotism.
The Wounded Warrior Fellowship Program was established by the House of Representatives to provide employment opportunities for veterans who are wounded or have a disability within member offices.
A news release from U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, stated: “Ensuring our veterans — especially those who come home with wounds of war — have the resources they need to succeed when they transition back to civilian life is one of my highest priorities.” She is providing a two-year fellowship in her Thousand Oaks office. The person will work with constituents who need help with veteran-related casework and act as a liaison between constituents and federal, state and local agencies. For more information, visit USAJobs.gov and search “Wounded Warrior Fellowship Program,” 805-379-1779 or visit JuliaBrownley.House.gov/Internships for more information.
After three years of planning, fundraising and construction, the Conejo Free Clinic’s new state-of-the-art dental clinic is now open in Thousand Oaks and available for veterans.
Dental care will be provided without charge by an all-volunteer team of dentists and dental assistants. Veterans and their families must meet the 200 percent California federal poverty income guidelines determined by total household size. The dental clinic joins the Conejo Free Clinic’s medical clinic and legal clinic programs that have served the community also free of charge for 41 years. The medical clinic provides care in general/family medicine, pediatrics and women’s health, including an extensive free mammogram/breast cancer prevention program.
Doctors and nurses from Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Amgen, UCLA Health and private practice take part. The legal clinic is staffed by a volunteer team of private-practice attorneys who provide free help in family, landlord-tenant, bankruptcy, civil, business, criminal, employment, and trust and estate law. Volunteers are graduates of Pepperdine Law, USC Gould School of Law, UCLA School of Law and others.
Veterans and their families can take advantage of all Conejo Free Clinic services by appointment. Call 805-497-3575, ext. 0. If you are a doctor, nurse or dental professional interested in volunteering, call Lisa Hoffman at 805-497-3575, ext. 204. The Conejo Free Clinic is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. For more information, visit conejofreeclinic.org.
Affordable housing for veterans is improving with two significant events that occurred in April. The Phase II Snapdragon Place Apartments groundbreaking took place on April 5 in Ventura. The 22-unit project will include 11 special needs units, of which four are designated for homeless veterans and seven are non-VASH units. Second, the Ventura City Council selected a developer for the housing development surrounding the Veterans Home of California — Ventura in Saticoy. The approved development will construct 122 apartments for veterans and their families. The units are one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Add Many Mansions’ 40-unit Oxnard veteran housing project and in another year or two, veterans will have 173 new affordable apartments. On behalf of all the veterans and their families who need affordable housing, we express our appreciation and gratitude.
Ventura County’s homeless population has been in the news. Overall, the number of homeless people has increased. There is one segment of the population that has seen a consistent reduction, and that is veterans. Ventura County’s goal has been to end veteran homelessness, and we are making progress.
The preliminary report shows a 22 percent reduction in the number of homeless veterans as compared to last year. This equates to 18 fewer homeless veterans. Since 2013, the number of unsheltered homeless veterans has been reduced from 118 to 39. Many agencies, organizations and individuals have collectively contributed to this reduction. In fact, there are too many organizations and individuals to list here. Thanks to your efforts, our community is on a path to be one of the counties that leaves no veteran behind.
Gold Coast Veterans Foundation is available to conduct outreach to our remaining homeless veterans. If you know the location of someone who needs help, let us know and we will reach out to them. We also accept in-kind donations. We are collecting furniture to furnish one-bedroom apartments. If you have a small, comfortable chair, end table, dresser and lamp to donate, please contact us. We are always seeking additional volunteers to assist with our homeless veterans. For more information, call Gold Coast Veterans Foundation at 805-482-6550.
May 8: 10 a.m., Ventura County supervisors military appreciation proclamation, Ventura County Government Center 800 S. Victoria Ave, Ventura. Join us as Supervisor Peter Foy presents a proclamation recognizing May as Military Appreciation Month.
May 9: 10 a.m to 2 p.m., Veterans Affairs health care open house, Oxnard Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 1690 Universe Circle, Oxnard. The annual open house is sponsored by Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare to encourage eligible veterans to enroll. It also offers a job fair, information on the Vet center and VA benefits, lunch and a chance to meet with local college representatives about educational opportunities. For more information, contact Charles Green at 424-645-9865.
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. For more information, call Lisette Weatherby at 805-981-0130.
May 18-20: UCLA is celebrating its Veterans and Armed Forces Appreciation Weekend with free baseball tickets for veterans — four complimentary tickets with proof of military service. The UCLA Bruins will be playing the University of Oregon at Jackie Robinson Stadium in the final 2018 regular home series. To redeem your tickets, show up at the Jackie Robinson Stadium box office on game day with your proof of service or register online at http://www.uclabruins.com/bsbmilitary. Contact email@example.com for more information.
May 19: Armed Forces Day. The Department of Defense’s slogan for this year is #KnowYourMilitary. To learn about individuals serving in the military, visit http://knowyourmilitary.osd.mil. To download this year’s Armed Forces Day poster, visit http://afd.defense.gov. Show your patriotism and fly your U.S. flag.
May 26: Noon to 4 p.m., veterans picnic, Kingsmen Park 60 W. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks. California Lutheran University invites veterans and their families to a picnic and large veterans gathering that will include a free lunch, lawn games and yoga. To RSVP or participate in the event or for more information, call Jenn at 805-493-3556.
May 28: Memorial Day. U.S. federal holiday to remember our U.S. armed forces men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. We are grateful for their actions and we remember their family members and their sacrifices in our prayers. If you want to honor those who have fallen, you can attend one of the Memorial Day services at one of several local cemeteries, you can volunteer to place flags on grave sites or you can donate to a veterans organization.
How will you remember those who gave their lives for our freedom?
Memorial Day ceremonies on May 28 will include:
- Camarillo: 11 a.m., Conejo Mountain Funeral Home, Memorial Park and Crematory and the city of Camarillo will host the 53rd annual Memorial Day service at Conejo Mountain.
- Moorpark: 10 a.m., American Legion will sponsor a Memorial Day observance at the Moorpark Veterans Memorial.
- Moorpark: Rotary Club of Moorpark Morning will host its second Field of Valor, a public display of American flags set up at Tierra Rejada Park.
- Port Hueneme: 8:30 a.m., Memorial Day celebration in front of Port Hueneme City Hall, 250 N. Ventura Road.
- Santa Paula: 10:30 a.m., Veterans of Foreign Wars Mercer-Prieto Post 2043 is hosting a ceremony at the Pierce Brothers Santa Paula Cemetery.
- Simi Valley: 10 a.m., Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10049 will present a Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Pioneer Cemetery.
- Ventura: 10 a.m., Ivy Lawn Memorial Park will hold its annual Memorial Day ceremony.
- Ventura: 4 p.m., Memorial Day ceremony will take place at Cemetery Park, also known as St. Mary’s Cemetery.
- Westlake Village: 10:30 a.m., 29th annual Memorial Day ceremony at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Griffin Memorial Park.
Here is our presentation of all of the Veterans Memorials around Ventura County, many of which you can visit throughout the year to honor those who served and sacrificed:
June 21-25: Vietnam War Moving Wall, Ventura County Government Center, corner of 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, contact vvvc.org.
If you would like to learn about veteran services or need assistance navigating services, contact JC Oberst at 482-6550 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our free items for veterans in need at gcvf.org.
Source: VC Star article from May 6, 2018