On January 29, 2015, NVF Women’s Outreach Coordinator Kristine Hesse, (USAF retired) was on LA’s Skid Row. She had a lot of company. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, together with city and county government officials and more than a hundred volunteers spread out over the area to count and interview the homeless.
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The National Veterans Foundation is honored to add one of our nation’s most accomplished and respected combat Veterans and Veteran advocates, Senator Max Cleland, to its Honorary Board of Directors. A Vietnam vet, Senator Cleland has served the United States as a Captain in the Army, Chief of US Veterans Affairs, Secretary of State of Georgia and US Senator. He is currently the Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission.
We are honored to introduce John Ruffin and Gregory Wilbur as new members of the NVF Board.
Former US Army Officer and Viet Nam Veteran John Ruffin met Shad Meshad in the 1980’s while Shad was working within the VA, spearheading the Vet Center Program. John was a consultant to the VA at that time. Since they reconnected John has worked closely with the NVF as a volunteer over the past 3 years. John’s focus on the board is to see the NVF expand in its capacities nationwide and our work to continually grow in its outreach.
NVF Women’s Outreach Coordinator Kristine Hesse was recognized by the 48th Assembly District of the California Legislature as a role model in the community. Assemblymember Roger Hernandez, Chair of the Committee on Labor and Employment, presented a Certificate of Recognition to Kristine during a ceremony in the City of El Monte on March 28, 2015. Hesse was selected because of her “professional accomplishments and dedication...demonstrating the positive impact that one determined individual can make on the world around them.”
You’d think that after forty years of working with the homeless in Los Angeles, many of them veterans, (4000 out of 25,000 unsheltered homeless), a person would get used to the story. Apparently not. When I read Gale Holland’s Los Angeles Times article on the LA City Council’s vote on June 15th to make it easier to clear homeless encampments, I thought to myself: here it is again, moving
You know how a metropolitan skyline is dominated by tall buildings, kind of like silos? The homeless problem’s skyline looks like that too. Government, community-based organizations and non-profits all existing in the same place look like they’re part of a cohesive thing. In reality, they tend to be isolated because all are competing for the same limited resources.
We’re here again, in this spot where we look forward and back. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. Fallujah comes to mind, and now Ramadi.
Both will be on the minds of veterans whose lives were changed by these wars. Rippling out, the families and friends of these vets will also be thinking about these events. You know what happens when a stone is cast into a pool…the ripples extend out in ever-widening circles.