JC Oberst: Ventura Veteran’s Service to Country and Community Honored by Limón

Assemblywoman Monique Limón, who represents the 37th Assembly District, has named Tammy Bender as her district 2018 Veteran of the Year.

The honor is bestowed annually by the state Assembly to veterans who have displayed exemplary service to both their country and community.

Bender is a native of Ventura who is loved by Ventura County’s veterans and their family members. After 20 years of service in the Navy as a chief hospital corpsman, she continued her life of service as a Ventura County Veteran Service Office claims assistant.

She is well known for her knowledge and excellent customer service and for always making sure veterans get the assistance they need when filling out claims. In her five years at the veterans service office, Bender has played a large role in helping it reach a record number of veterans and connect them to federal and state Veterans Affairs funding. Her expertise and empathy helped the office connect Ventura County’s 40,000 veterans and their families to more than $11.2 million in new benefits in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Her expertise has also led her to advise U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, and Veterans Affairs leaders on the issues of importance to female veterans.

“Tammy served her country honorably in the United States Navy from April 1988 to May 2008 as a chief hospital corpsman. She has also continued her honorable service to her country and others in her role with Ventura County Veteran Services Office, where she has been greatly instrumental in helping connect veterans to federal and state benefits. It is truly an honor to have name Tammy Bender as my Veteran of the Year. Tammy, we cannot thank you enough for your service to our community,” said Limón, D-Santa Barbara, whose district includes parts of Ventura County.

Veterans’ Long-Term Health Care

A House of Representatives Veterans Affairs congressional subcommittee hearing on veterans long-term health care was held recently in Camarillo. Representing the subcommittee were Chairman Neal Dunn, R-Fla., and Brownley. Those in attendance heard from a panel of government service providers who spoke and took questions. The meeting was informative and highlighted the many challenges to meeting the long-term care needs for our veterans. In case you missed this hearing, you can watch it below in its entirety.

The long-term care options available include VA nursing homes, contracted nursing homes and the state-operated veterans home. VA operates nursing homes in West Los Angeles and Sepulveda with 372 skilled-nursing beds and in Long Beach with 99 skilled-nursing beds. A veteran must have a VA service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or greater to qualify, which excludes 96 percent of Ventura County veterans, according to Veteran Service Office statistics.

The committee noted that veterans prefer to stay at home. VA does provide a variety of services that support community-based care such as adult day health care, which is part of VA medical benefits and available in Ventura County. All enrolled VA health care veterans are eligible if they meet the clinical need for the service.

Another provider of veterans’ long-term care is the California Department of Veterans Affairs, which operates eight veterans’ homes, including one in Ventura. The Ventura facility has 60 beds and provides residential care. The West L.A. home is the nearest facility providing skilled-nursing care. VA-provided skilled nursing in Ventura County is available at three VA-contracted nursing homes in Oxnard and Ventura. There are a total of 20 contracted skilled nursing beds. Two were available when I checked Thursday.

One other VA benefit to highlight is aid and attendance and housebound care. Aid and attendance is for veterans who need financial help for in-home care or to pay for an assisted-living facility or nursing home. The long-term care need does not have to be the result of military service. Benefits are paid to those eligible for a VA pension, who meet service requirements, who have disability needs and who meet income and asset limitations. If you think you qualify for long-term care or aid and attendance, contact the county office for assistance with your claim at 805-477-5155.

Veterans Events

Aug. 4: U.S. Coast Guard’s 228th birthday. On Aug. 4, 1790, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton established a maritime force to serve as an armed customs enforcement service. Today, the Coast Guard enforces maritime laws and saves lives at sea.

Aug. 7: Purple Heart Day. National Purple Heart Day was established by George Washington in 1782 to honor the men and women wounded or killed in military service.  We extend our sincere gratitude for their service.

Aug. 9: 9:30 a.m., Veteran Collaborative of Ventura County meeting, National University, Suite 502, 1000 Town Center Drive, Oxnard. The collaborative helps coordinate and access services for veterans, military personnel and their families. Through a partnership with the County Veteran Services Office, it provides information on jobs, events, VA benefits, and partner services. Networking will begin at 9 a.m.

Aug. 25: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., job/career/information fair for veterans, military and family, Camarillo Community Center, 1605 Burnley St. Personnel from many organizations will provide job opportunities, information on benefits, schools and health issues. The deadline for employers to apply to have a booth is Aug. 10. For more information or to download an application, visit a44.asmdc.org/VetsJobFair.

Aug. 31-Sept. 3: Los Angeles Fleet Week, Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, free to the public. It will feature ship tours, military displays and equipment demonstrations, a kids’ STEM expo, aircraft flyovers, live entertainment, the 10th annual Conquer the Bridge Labor Day morning 5.3-mile walk/run over the iconic Vincent Thomas Bridge, the Galley Wars culinary competition between military branches and all-around fun for the entire family. For more information: https://www.lafleetweek.com.

If you would like to learn about veteran services or want to help our veterans in need contact JC Oberst at 482-6550 or jc.oberst@gcvf.org. For more information go to www.gcvf.org.

Source: VC Star article from August 5, 2018