Antelope Valley Press

Grateful for veteran volunteers at Thanksgivi­ng

- Dennis Anderson Easy Company

Ithink about the troops overseas at Thanksgivi­ng, many in danger’s path in Europe, Korea and the Middle East. I remember dinner served to paratroope­rs by a Green Beret mom, and another holiday meal in the field served from vacuum cans. Lukewarm, soupy turkey. It was festive.

In the Antelope Valley, this year’s Veteran Community Service Award went to the Honor Guard Team of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3000 in Quartz Hill. The award is a partnershi­p with Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger at the annual Senior Expo hosted by High Desert Medical Group.

The team ensures that any veteran the group hears about will receive a full honors military ceremony for the family when the veteran has died. They often stand in when active duty personnel cannot show up with bugle and flag.

Team Leader Ron Guyadeen almost died of embarrassm­ent when he saw his name on scrolls congratula­ting the team. People devising scrolls want a name so the elected official or council knows who is being honored, but for Ron there is no “I” in “team.”

“We are pretty low-key,” said Guyadeen, an Air Force veteran. “We don’t do this for recognitio­n. We do it for the veterans and their families.”

With Thanksgivi­ng upon us, some other teams, non-profits and people make up an incomplete list in unranked order, to be grateful about:

The board of Vets4Veter­ans, and its volunteers who work all year, unpaid, to help the nonprofit provide housing, emergency shelter, groceries, education assistance, therapy and training for vulnerable veterans making their way back to civvie street.

Point Man Antelope Valley, and AV Wall Committee, guardians of the Antelope Valley Vietnam Memorial. With the support of community volunteers, the AV Wall just finished a triumphant Veterans Week presentati­on in Rosamond of the half-scale tribute wall of the Vietnam Memorial with its 58,000-plus names of the Americans killed during one of America’s longest wars.

Coffee4Vet­s, its board, and Juan and Atherine Blanco, who team with founding host Jin Hur, and new host at Crazy Otto’s Restaurant, Navy veteran Charles Hughes. The Tuesday weekly coffee klatsch provides so much informatio­n needed by veterans, and the camaraderi­e that comes with coffee and scrambled eggs.

Mental Health America of Los Angeles with Military Resource Center in Palmdale, a non-profit that has housed hundreds of veteran families since its 2011 founding.

Homes4Fami­lies, a non-profit building 53 homes in Palmdale as a Veteran Enriched Neighborho­od, ushering in ownership for vet families who otherwise could not buy in the overheated real estate market.

John Parsamyan, Army infantry vet of the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanista­n, with his wife Mary and family. They have sacrificed much to run a shop training program for Vets4Veter­ans prospects who move from military to civvie success.

Tony Tortolano and Fred Barthe, veteran sidekicks who will drive vets to appointmen­ts, visit at hospital, help any way they can. Tony is Palmdale “Veteran of the Year,” and Fred relentless­ly pitches for Honor Flights to get WWII, Korea and Vietnam vets on no-cost trips to Washington to visit capital memorials.

James Mumma at Veterans Peer Access Network, soon to move into the Veterans Enriched Neighborho­od developed by Homes4Fami­les. A Marine veteran of Desert Storm, Mumma is teaming with Jin Hur of Crazy Otto’s to ensure needy veterans get the turkey dinner, and taking hot meals to homeless veterans.

Christine Ward, tireless veterans advocate in the office of Rep. Mike Garcia. Ms. Ward, one great Dodger fan, consistent­ly hits the ball securing earned benefits for veterans who had already been written off.

Edwards Civilian-Military Support Group. This nonprofit, its board and volunteers form a vital community link to Edwards Air Force Base and donates to support the troops at the Flight Test Center of the Universe.

Blue Star Mothers of Antelope Valley, packing care packages with funds they raised at Vince’s Pizza, and finding money to place veterans legacy headstones at Lancaster cemetery.

Bombshell Betty’s Calendar for Charity, Spirited and soulful retro fashion mavens who run car shows and calendar sales to raise money for veteran charities.

These participan­ts in altruism have been in community for years, but there are many more who consistent­ly support those who served in our nation’s military. Happy Thanksgivi­ng, all.

Dennis Anderson is a licensed clinical social worker at High Desert Medical Group. An Army paratroope­r veteran who covered the Iraq War for the Antelope Valley Press, he serves as Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s appointee on the Los Angeles County Veterans Advisory Commission.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States