5:19 am
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Opinion / Letters
  Arts / Entertainment
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  DJ Designers
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
OP-ED: Helping our vets at home
June 15, 2013, 05:00 AM By Chuck McDougald

By Chuck McDougald

Last Friday, I was invited to a fundraiser for InnVision Shelter Network, to raise money for homeless veterans and their families. Bill Butler and Terry Molakides graciously opened up their Woodside home for the event. It was a nice affair. About 80 attended and almost $100,000 was raised. Homelessness is a major problem in the Bay Area. InnVision is on the front line dealing with this problem daily.

Former secretary of state George Shultz was the guest of honor and keynote speaker. He is presently the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institute. He has held four different Cabinet posts for four different U.S. presidents. But ask him about his service in the Marine Corps and his eyes light up. He served in the Pacific Theater in World War II as an artillery officer achieving the rank of captain. He fought at Peleliu (Battle of Angur). He will be the first to tell you, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” And he cares deeply about the plight of the homeless veteran.

A displaced veteran was there — we’ll call him Tom — and he told us his story. He was doing a tour in Afghanistan. He was sitting on the hood of a truck when an rpg (rocket propelled grenade) hit. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was medically evacuated. Over time, he recuperated from his wounds, but he still suffers from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). He is married and has one child, a 5-year-old girl. The domestic violence started when he came home. Soon he was out on the street.

It is a tragic story, told over and over again by thousands of displaced men and women who fight for our country and then come home and have trouble readjusting. I spoke with Tom. His unit was the 82nd Airborne from Fort Bragg, N.C. I trained at Fort Bragg in the early ’60s when I volunteered for Special Forces. We talked about our experiences at Bragg and our deployments. And I thought to myself, this is so typical. Here is a guy who cannot enjoy what he fought for. But thanks to InnVision, he will be given a chance.

InnVision has 18 facilities in the Bay Area, stretching from Daly City to San Jose. It offers transitional and permanent housing. It houses nearly 1,000 homeless each night, including families, women and children, single adults and veterans. One-third of the single adults in transitional housing are veterans; 18 percent of the families in transitional housing have at least one veteran parent.

In addition to shelter, it offers comprehensive services such as employment search assistance, financial literacy classes and child care, to break the cycle of homelessness. Also, veterans who come to a V.A. hospital in Silicon Valley from out of town for medical care are provided shelter, transportation and case management.

I belong to an organization called Concerned Veterans for America (CVA). We advocate for veterans’ issues. Presently, we are concerned with the backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Men and women who have fought for our country and returned home have to wait an average of a year for their medical claims to be processed. The number is 800,000 and growing.

Tom was able to receive his benefits, but more than 800,000 are still waiting. If you are one of those please go online to our website at www.concernedveteransforamerica.org and sign our “millionvetbacklog” petition. You can also click on “Get Involved” and sign up for our newsletter. While our soldiers fight for our country overseas, we will continue to fight for their rights at home.

Chuck McDougald headed the Veterans Coalition, first for California, then for the Western Region, when Sen. John McCain ran for president in 2008. In 2010, he served as Statewide Volunteer Chair for Carly Fiorina’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. He is currently the Western Region director for ConcernedVeteransforAmerica.org. He lives in South San Francisco with his wife and two kids.



Tags: veterans, their, innvision, about, families, fought,

Other stories from today:


Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
Return To Archives

Daily Journal Quick Poll
How will your holiday shopping compare to last year?

Will do more of it
Will do a lot more of it
About the same
A little less
Not sure


San Mateo Community College District
©2015 San Mateo Daily Journal
San Mateo County open houses