Veterans' Corner: Several veteran organizations available in Victoria

June 22, 2014 at 1:22 a.m.

It's been four years since my discharge from the Marine Corps after serving two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. I have been thinking about joining a veterans organization but do not have any information on where or who to call. Can you please provide information on what services they provide and how to become a member?

First, I want to thank you for your service. Second, I want to congratulate you for wanting to continue to serve your country and your fellow veterans.

There are several veterans organizations in the Victoria area.

Their primary mission is to help veterans and their dependents who are experiencing immediate financial, health, housing and other emergency needs.

They make their presence known in the community by providing military burial honors for veterans. These services are initiated by the funeral home by request of the veteran's family members. The honor guard services consist of the attendance of all the area veterans organizations with the American flag and their organization colors. They do the 21-gun salute, taps and fold and present the American flag to a member of the veteran's family.

The veterans organizations also participate at special holiday celebrations such as the Fourth of July, Veterans Day and Memorial Day and any other function that requires military presence.

Some of those organizations were founded in the early 1900s. So, you can see why they are in dire need of new and younger members with new ideas like you, who will bring a new culture while upholding the integrity, the essence and the mission.

We are asking all the young veterans from the recent wars in the Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kuwait to step up and join up.

We are still concerned that too many young veterans are not applying or seeking information on the Veterans Affairs benefits they have earned.

We are still waiting for all Vietnam veterans to come and visit with us.

We encourage all vets to enroll in the Medical System at the Victoria Veterans Outpatient Clinic and then visit and have a conversation with a veteran representative to determine what benefits you are eligible for. You will not know if you don't come see us.

This a list of some of the veteran organizations in the Victoria area: The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Order of the Purple Heart, Catholic War Veterans, Korean War Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Marine Corps League and POW (Prisoners of War). Sorry if I missed any other organization.

For more information, visit the Disabled American Veterans Service Officers Office located at the Texas Workforce Center, corner of Main and Santa Rosa streets in downtown Victoria, or call 361-578-0341, ext. 247. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday each week.

Frank Torres is an officer for Victoria Disabled American Veterans Chapter 169 and offers military benefit information and advice for Victoria and surrounding counties.



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