The Nueces County Veterans Services hosted the first Information Brief for area veterans on Saturday. The purpose of the brief was to inform veterans of the different services available to them. The event was held at the Del Mar College Center for Economic Development.
This was the first year that Veterans Services has held the event but according to Veterans Officer Martin Longoria, it won't be the last. “Everything turned out great. We had about 150 people show up and it was a mixture of younger and older veterans,” Longoria said. Longoria, a retired Army Major and veteran himself, felt that there was a good representation of all the services available to veterans and that they were successful in letting younger men and women know what is out there. “There's room for improvement but for the first time we were successful,” said Longoria.
Some of the organizations in attendance were the Disabled Americans Veterans (DAV) Auxiliary 150, the Area Agency of Aging (AAA), the Office of Veteran's Affairs (VA), and the Veterans Land Board to name a few.
The DAV provides assistance to low-income and homeless veterans including meals, blankets and clothes for warmth, and holiday visits to veterans among the many other community service activities that they perform.
The AAA helps veterans and others get set up with Medicare and other services so that they can be able to cover any and all health related issues from care to nutrition and many other facets of life.
The Veterans Land Board was created after World War II as a way to give the returning soldiers, marines and sailors a chance to own land. It has since grown provide veterans with low cost loans below market value to enable them to purchase land or a home, make home improvements, provide low cost, long-term care in a veteran's home and inter veterans in one of the four Texas state veterans cemeteries free of charge.
The VA had representatives at the event, most notably Max and his handler Debbie Dillender. Max is a service animal who is trained to be a peer to peer facilitator for the VA. With his handler, Max helps veterans by providing them comfort and companionship. According to Dillender he's ready to go but they both have continuous training to keep them updated on giving the best care that they can.
Longoria and his assistant Stephanie Villarreal already have plans for the next item on their calendar. “The next thing that we are planning is a health fair for around April 9, 2016. We will probably have it at the Calderon Building in Robstown but we're still in the planning faze. We will definitely plan on expanding this event for next year,” said Longoria.
For more information on the next event or to get assistance, contact the Office of Veterans Services by phone at (361)888-0820.