Tuesday, October 16, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 32
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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on April 11th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 6 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 6

Spotlight on: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Santa Maria open house

Charles Green, chief of Outreach and Community Relations

By JOE PAYNE

For the past nine years, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System has staged an open house event for local veterans at the Santa Maria Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), connecting servicepeople with myriad resources for both health and success.

April 18 marks the open house’s 10th anniversary, explained Charles Green, the VA’s chief of Outreach and Community Relations. Green said that the event has improved every year, servicing more military veterans from across the Central Coast with the resource fair.


RESOURCES FOR VETS
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System hosts an open house event for veterans at the Santa Maria Community Based Outpatient Clinic on April 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
PHOTO BY JOE PAYNE

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the event will include doctors, nurses, and social workers at the Santa Maria CBOC—located at 1550 E. Main St.—to offer a variety of services. There will also be vendors for benefits and programs, and local employers will have booths with information for veterans looking for work.

“The veterans can come in for one day and get all these services and employment opportunity, and we can show our appreciation for their service to our great nation,” Green said. “All these veterans joined the military and have earned all these benefits, so we just want to make sure that they are engaged in reaching out to get these benefits that they earned and deserve.”

Green has attended the Santa Maria open house for several years, he explained, and has seen an increase in the number of veterans who show up at each annual event. They get access to information about the GI Bill or National Cemetery and Veteran benefits, and they also receive free health screenings, exams, and medical services.

The range of services is due to the VA’s desire to reach as many veterans as possible, Green said, to appeal everyone from Vietnam era veterans to those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“What we’re doing is, all veterans from all eras, we’re giving the opportunity to bring them in and share this person with a new veteran from the current conflicts we’re participating in now, to show them that they’re brothers and sisters,” he said. “It’s like a welcome home, to let them know that their service is appreciated, that we appreciate everyone from all branches of the service and all eras of our military and great history.”

Green and his team travel throughout the southern part of California, visiting VA facilities for other open house events. Each event includes American Legion and other Veteran Service Organisations (VSO) helping out in a variety of ways.

But Santa Maria is different, Green said, and he and the rest of the representatives are excited to visit again.

“Our community partnership, the local VSOs, we love Santa Maria because normally, out of all our sites we are doing an event, the Santa Maria veterans service organizations, they bring out a barbecue,” he said. “They normally barbecue [tri-tip], and they come out and cook for four or five hundred veterans, and it’s a great service. So we’re really happy to go out there.”

Last year saw health services rendered to around 7,500 veterans at the Santa Maria CBOC, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

That’s a lot of tri-tip for a lot of people, Green said.

“It’s great, the lines are really long,” he added. “Sometimes the line is four hours just to get the tri-tip.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring out community partners, our local employers, to take care of the men and women who served our country,” he added. “It’s like it takes a village to make everybody happy and to build a great collaborative, and we just think this is a good way of giving back.”

Highlight: 

• The Santa Maria Elks Rodeo and Parade presents the unveiling of the 2018 Elks Rodeo Queen candidates on April 14 beginning at 5 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 1309 N. Bradley Road, Santa Maria. Tickets are $30. More info: (805) 922-1538 or (805) 925-4125.

Managing Editor Joe Payne wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, mail, or email at spotlight@santamariasun.com.




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