VC Star: Vin Scully lends voice to local veterans nonprofit for Independence Day message
By: Joe Curley
Ventura County Star
Don’t be surprised to hear a familiar, velvet voice this holiday weekend.
Vin Scully has partnered with a local veterans nonprofit to remind revelers of the meaning of Independence Day and to rally support to end veterans’ homelessness.
The legendary Dodgers broadcaster and Navy veteran has recorded a 30-second radio spot for Camarillo-based Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, which will run more than 100 times on KHAY-FM 100.7 and KBBY-FM 95.1 this weekend.
“This Independence Day,” Scully reads, “take a moment to think about the sacrifices our veterans have made and join me in putting an end to veteran homelessness.”
Scully, 94, a longtime Conejo Valley resident, has also recorded a 1-minute, 40-second personal message that will open and close the firework shows at the Camarillo Premium Outlets and the Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks, as well as other events from Woodland Hills to Santa Barbara.
“It’s not just a date on a calendar,” Scully reads. “It’s the bravery and vision of Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and over 50 others, who made America an independent nation on that day.”
The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness of the needs of the nearly 50,000 Ventura County residents who are veterans, especially those who are homeless.
“I can certainly understand what we’re trying to do,” Scully told The Star this week. “Of course, it’s the Fourth, with all the pomp and ceremony — which is fine — but above all, it’s the announcement to the world, to the King of England, that we’re free.
“I was honored and humbled to play a small part. … We’re just trying to make people realize, yes, it’s fireworks and all of the other good things, but don’t forget what it really stands for.”
The foundation has helped lift more than 200 veterans from homelessness in Ventura County. Its long-term goal is to create a “Veterans Village,” a complex that can provide homeless veterans interim housing and support services needed to end veteran homelessness locally.
“What we’re after is healing and housing in tandem,” Bob Harris, executive director of the foundation, told The Star in 2021. “The goal is long-term reintegration back into independence and permanent housing.”
It was Scully’s short time in the Navy, during the tail end of World War II, that brought the Bronx, New York, native to California for the first time.
“First of all, my time in the Navy was very brief,” Scully said. “I had enlisted, by gosh, in June. But I had no talent. I was going to be a seaman, and the Navy had plenty of seamen. By the time they called me up and sent me to boot camp, the war was over really.”
Scully’s time in the service sent him to boot camp at Camp Peary in Virginia and then to Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.
“That’s basically where I lived for my time in the Navy,” Scully said. “When it comes to Navy stories, I’m at the bottom of the heap.”
These days, Scully spends most of his time at home locally with family.
“If it weren’t for doctor appointments,” Scully joked, “I wouldn’t have any social life at all.”
It’s been more than five years since he finished his 67-year run as a Dodgers broadcaster. He still follows the Boys of Summer, of course, although he “absolutely” loves afternoon games and East Coast road trips.
“One of my problems is I don’t have any stamina,” Scully said. “By 10 o’clock, back when I was working, things were warming up for the last inning or two.”
“What I normally do now is check my phone for the late score. If it looks like it could be decided in the ninth inning, I’ll tune in. … If it’s not, I turn it off and go to sleep.
“However, come the playoffs, then I’ll catch every pitch.”
Scully said he planned on celebrating the holiday with his extended family.