LANCASTER – Dozens of local veterans received a helping hand Saturday at the Antelope Valley Veterans Outreach.
The daylong event was hosted by Grace Resources and provided a wide array of complimentary services designed to help local veterans who are having difficulties.
“Our priority is veterans that are homeless or in trouble and needy,” said Grace Resources Director Steve Baker. “We want to reach out to our local veterans and their families and do everything we can to help them and honor them.”
Baker said the event began with a complimentary breakfast, courtesy of the Lancaster Rotary.
“Wounded warriors had breakfast with the veterans in the morning, and they got a standing ovation for their service to our country,” Baker said. “For every wounded warrior there are a thousand of us who didn’t get hurt, so we owe a lot to them.”
After breakfast, more than 75 local veterans were treated to a variety of services, including dental care, eye exams and reading glasses, medical care, mental health counseling, legal aid and other community resources.
Homeless veterans were connected to programs, such as Operation Healthy Homecoming, a program that links veterans and their families to permanent housing and coordinates a range of services to help them sustain their homes.
Students from Western Beauty Institute were on hand to provide free haircuts and styling. Veterans were also offered free clothing and hygiene kits.
Air Force veteran Marilyn Middlesalle said she was surprised at the amount of readily available services.
“I didn’t know it was going to be something where you could see a doctor and get dental work done,” Middlesalle said. “I think this is great!”
Army and Air Force veteran Rodney Thomas said he attended the event to get an eye examination and free reading glasses. He said the event was essential for all local veterans.
“There’s a lot of veterans in the Antelope Valley that don’t really know what services are available to them, and the people here let them know,” Thomas said. “There’s a lot of information here, and information is power.”
More than 40 volunteers helped organize the Antelope Valley Veterans Outreach (formerly known as Stand Down), Baker said, adding that the event is held quarterly. For more information or details on the next event, contact Grace Resources at 661-940-5272.