Snowy weather vis­its val­ley

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - NEVADA & THE WEST - By Kim­ber Laux Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal

Win­ter weather ar­rived in the Las Ve­gas Val­ley on Sun­day night, and more pre­cip­i­ta­tion is pos­si­ble as the week pro­gresses.

Snow and snow pel­lets, also called grau­pel, fell through­out the val­ley Sun­day night, though the north­west val­ley was prob­a­bly the “best area” for snow­fall, Na­tional Weather Ser­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gist John Adair said.

Some snow was stick­ing to grass or cars, but much of it wasn’t ac­cu­mu­lat­ing, he said.

Grau­pel falls from nim­bus or cu­mu­lonim­bus clouds, the same types that pro­duce snow or thun­der­storms, ac­cord­ing to the weather ser­vice.

It is formed when the snowflakes in the clouds en­counter the su­per­cooled wa­ter, which is still liq­uid even though it is be­low freez­ing. The wa­ter droplets then freeze onto the snowflakes, giv­ing the grau­pel a round shape.

Con­di­tions Mon­day will be calm and mostly sunny with tem­per­a­tures reach­ing 51 de­grees in the af­ter­noon — 10 de­grees lower than the nor­mal high tem­per­a­ture for this time of year, me­te­o­rol­o­gist Andy Gorelow said. The overnight low will drop to 33.

More than 25 years re­moved from its hum­ble be­gin­nings, the Ed­ward Kline Me­mo­rial Home­less Veter­ans Fund is ready to step into the phil­an­thropic big leagues.

The non­profit, which started out in 1993 as a home­grown ef­fort by Ed­ward Kline, a Las Ve­gas res­i­dent and World War II Army vet­eran, and a few friends to help other ex-ser­vice mem­bers in Nevada who were down on their luck, re­cently

hired its first ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor with an eye to­ward ex­pand­ing its reach and im­pact.

Now the new of­fi­cial, Stephanie Helms, and the fund’s six board of di­rec­tors mem­bers, all veter­ans, want to make sure the com­mu­nity knows they’re ready to part­ner with other non­prof­its, We needed some­one to take the bull by the horns and ba­si­cally present our case to or­ga­ni­za­tions that we’re here. busi­nesses and donors to help pro­vide as­sis­tance di­rectly to veter­ans who need a leg up.

“We needed some­one to take the bull by the horns and ba­si­cally present our case to or­ga­ni­za­tions that we’re here,” said Board Pres­i­dent Steve Sei­den, an Army vet­eran. “The VA has a lot of short­falls, and we’ve un­cov­ered dif­fer­ent ar­eas (where there’s) just a greater need.”

The de­ci­sion to in­crease the fund’s vis­i­bil­ity came af­ter board mem­bers saw an in­crease in the num­ber of veter­ans strug­gling to meet

ba­sic needs like rent, se­cu­rity de­posits, elec­tric­ity, food or trans­porta­tion.

Helms will set strate­gic plans for grant pro­grams, com­mu­nity out­reach and part­ner­ship de­vel­op­ment.

Mak­ing ‘a di­rect con­nec­tion’

Helms, 48, comes from a mil­i­tary fam­ily and is a cer­ti­fied Nevada Veter­ans Ad­vo­cate, trained to ed­u­cate veter­ans and mil­i­tary mem­bers about ben­e­fits and other op­por­tu­ni­ties.

She be­gan work­ing for the Kline Veter­ans Fund, as the non­profit is now known, as a vol­un­teer three years ago and said she is ex­cited to lead the or­ga­ni­za­tion in an ef­fort she is pas­sion­ate about.

“We have a di­rect con­nec­tion to these veter­ans,” she said. “There is no red tape to go through, you get your se­cu­rity de­posit.”

Getting help from the or­ga­ni­za­tion comes with few re­quire­ments other than the veter­ans must be Nevada res­i­dents and have been hon­or­ably dis­charged from the ser­vice.

The help is much ap­pre­ci­ated by veter­ans like Don­tae Shep­herd.

He and his wife, Mary-jo, re­cently spent eight months liv­ing in tran­si­tional hous­ing at H.E.L.P. USA in Las Ve­gas be­fore fi­nally sav­ing enough money for a Hen­der­son apart­ment in Oc­to­ber.

Be­cause Don­tae, a 36-year-old

Air Force vet­eran, was in be­tween jobs, he needed help with the $550 de­posit.

The Kline fund stepped in and paid it.

And when Mary-jo lost her job be­fore Thanks­giv­ing, the non­profit paid their elec­tric bill.

“It let us know that we still mat­ter,” said Don­tae. “… With­out them, we’d be home­less. It’s a weight lifted off of us.”

The fund was started in 1993 un­der the In­de­pen­dence Day ban­ner by Kline and a hand­ful of fel­low mem­bers of Jewish War Veter­ans Post 64 with an aim of giv­ing di­rect sup­port to veter­ans getting out of the ser­vice. Kline saw that vet­eran home­less­ness was on the rise and wanted to help them re-ac­cli­mate to civil­ian so­ci­ety.

And he and his bud­dies wanted to do that with­out wad­ing through a lot of red tape. They doled out do­na­tions on an in­for­mal ba­sis to any­one they heard about who needed help.

Fund goes of­fi­cial

The fund didn’t be­came a non­profit un­til 2012, a year af­ter Kline’s death. It is now largely funded by do­na­tions, with some grant as­sis­tance and spon­sor­ships.

The group cur­rently works in tan­dem with or­ga­ni­za­tions such as U.S. Vets, The Shade Tree shel­ter and the Michael’s An­gel Paws ser­vice dog train­ing cen­ter.

The lat­ter af­fil­i­a­tion sprang from Helm’s de­sire to fund ser­vice dogs for veter­ans and their fam­i­lies. The fund is cur­rently spon­sor­ing two.

One of them is Rosa Falu-car­rion’s 3-year-old pit bull and Cata­houla mix, Xena.

Her late hus­band, Army SPC Jose Vasquez Car­rion, died in 2012 af­ter be­ing hos­pi­tal­ized. She said she was so trau­ma­tized by his death that she de­vel­oped post-trau­matic stress disor­der.

When her pre­vi­ous ser­vice dog, Di­a­mond, was re­tired while she was at­tend­ing grad­u­ate school, Falu-car­rion couldn’t af­ford the train­ing for Xena.

That’s when the Kline fund stepped in to foot the bill.

“The won­der­ful part of hav­ing a ser­vice dog is this: They bring you back your dig­nity,” she said. “It was bare bones to get through it, and it was a bless­ing.”

Helms said that most of the fund’s clients just need a lit­tle help to get by, and that less than 3 per­cent of the 260 peo­ple that were helped last year come back for more.

While out­reach through poppy drives, fundrais­ers and net­work­ing to ex­pand and grow ex­ist­ing pro­grams is part of the plan, Helms also is im­ple­ment­ing new ini­tia­tives.

The fund is of­fer­ing its first schol­ar­ship this year, named af­ter the late Navy vet­eran Sid­ney Blum. His wife, Es­ther, will present the $1,000 schol­ar­ship in May to one vet­eran-de­pen­dent Clark County high school grad­u­ate.

“All the money we col­lect goes right back to veter­ans,” Helms said. “These peo­ple fought not only for their coun­try, but for all of us, and we ab­so­lutely owe them a debt of grat­i­tude.”

Con­tact Bri­ana Erick­son at berick­[email protected]­viewjour­nal.com or 702-387-5244. Fol­low @bri­anar­erick on Twit­ter.

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