Guadalupe County veterans getting more help in Seguin

Sunday, June 19, 2022

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Felicia Frazar The Seguin Gazette

Area veterans will soon have a one-stop shop for all of their needs when it comes to services offered by local, state and federal offices.

Guadalupe County is renovating the city’s former hospital, 205 E. Weinert St., into a Veterans Service Center that will give former service members the ability to access benefits with ease, Guadalupe County Veterans Services Coordinator Nancy Russell said.

“The idea is for it to be a one-stop for veterans so they don’t have to continually travel from here to Audie Murphy or all of the other VA Clinics,” she said. “There are currently a lot of things that can’t be done here, have to be done in San Antonio or Austin. We’re trying to get it to where that alleviates some of those trips to the big cities. The veterans center will have me and my staff there, plus the one Texas Veteran Commission person for the state.”

Veterans have to travel to the bigger cities just to set up a Veterans Affairs hearing, which can oftentimes be an all-day ordeal. It also is problematic for the veterans who can’t or don’t drive, Russell said.

“We’ll have our Texas Veterans Commission person who is authorized to do some things that I’m not able to do, such as setting up VA hearings,” she said. “It should save a lot of stress and travel time.”

Veterans Services will continue to offer transportation to and from appointments in San Antonio and Austin or to the Veterans Affairs medical facilities.

The center will also offer various services and opportunities for the former servicemen and women including mental health to socialization.

“I want it to be really diverse,” Russell said. “I don’t want it to be all TVC (Texas Veterans Commission) or all county. “We have extra space and we’ll see where the veterans want to take it.”

The center will offer a place for veterans to sit and visit with other veterans, a walking trail in the back, an outdoor patio and barbecue pit and indoor meeting space.

“It should be a place where veterans want to actually hang out during the day,” Russell said. “There is a veterans lounge, a really nice oak tree in the back and there will be a covered deck for meeting and barbecue grill. We want it to be used.”

Russell is also hoping to create a Purple Heart Garden to honor disabled veterans with the help of the community.

“I want the community to come together and help and work side-by-side with these veterans,” she said. “Then they’ll have a reason to want to go out there and walk around the track.”

Inside the center will have a wall of photos honoring local veterans. County residents are encouraged to submit photos — digitally or in person — to contribute to the display, Russell said.

“We need a lot of photographs,” she said. “It can either be an action shot or a head and shoulders type. The action shots are interesting, as long as they provide background information of where they were, what they were doing, whose in the photograph. They need to be Guadalupe County residents. It can be their father, their grandfather, a friend, a loved one.”

Russell wants the center to become a place where veterans know they can go and feel like it’s a second home.

“It might be a good coffee hangout,” she said. “They can stay as long as they want and we might have a library or a room where they work on projects. It is very important to have this space and meet other veterans, especially with the mental issues that seem to have increased in recent years. They really need to have the camaraderie, they really need to have a place to come to and we’re giving them that.”

To submit a photo email or visit the County Veterans Service office in the Guadalupe County Justice Center, 211 W. Court St. or at the Schertz office at 1052 FM 78,.

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Category: Guadalupe County, Veterans

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