Bea Hirschkovici
Bea Hirschkovici
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Aaron Araiza
Aaron Araiza
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SACRAMENTO, CA – Every November, the United States honors its service members on Veterans Day. This national holiday serves as an opportunity for us to remember our nation’s veterans and to be thankful for our freedoms. This year’s Veterans Day falls on 11/11/11. Most importantly, this year marks the beginning of our nation’s 11th year of engagement in Afghanistan. As a result of our engagement in recent conflicts overseas, many veterans return home, as our newest heroes, just as others did before after other conflicts. This is why the California Department of Veterans Affairs will be profiling eleven veterans beginning November 7th thru Veterans Day. These profiles will include veterans from different generations and backgrounds and hopefully shine a light on the challenges our veterans have and continue to face.

Bea Hirschkovici

Bea Hirschkovici was born in 1910 in Bucharest, Romania. She remembers well her family’s migration from Romania to the United States in 1920. Hirschkovici’s family made the journey to Fort Worth, Texas by sailing from France and registering in Ellis Island.

Hirschkovici remembers the difficult times that World War I had created in Europe and was thankful for the opportunities and safety that the United States offered. In 1929 she and her family moved to California where she lived until she enlisted in the Army at the beginning of World War II.

Hirschkovici was sent to Des Moines, Iowa to serve in the Women’s Auxiliary Core which later became the Women’s Army Core before being sent overseas to Scotland where she served as a Private First Class in the communications department working with top secret mimeographed documents.

In 1945, Hirschkovici returned to Los Angeles where she met her future husband a former POW, Ray Cohen. After her service in the military Hirschkovici got heavily involved in veteran causes which she still participates in till this day. This year she celebrated her 101st birthday.

CDVA: What was the most memorable thing about your service?

Hirschkovici: The training at Buckley Field in Denver, Colorado. I remember learning discipline, learning respect, being an American and realizing what America meant to me. Also, meeting the other women soldiers all over the United States. I also remember being on a train on June 6, 1944 and the sky became filled with planes and gliders. It was the Normandy invasion, only we did not know it at the time. It was the beginning of the end of World War II.

CDVA: What made you want to join the military?

Hirschkovici: I wanted to pay America back for having become an American. I came to this country in 1920 as a Rumanian immigrant. I was proud to be an American and I still am.

CDVA: What if any effect did being in the military have on your family life?

Hirschkovici: Being in the military gave me an extended family. I am proud of having been a member of the military. There is camaraderie among other veterans and we have so much in common. When I am sitting outside the VA hospital for a cab to take me home, and Veterans are sitting right beside me, we always talk about our service and experiences. I feel so home among other Veterans. The VA is my second home.

Aaron Araiza

Aaron Araiza was born and raised in the Sacramento Valley where at the age of 17 he and his twin brother entered into the United States Marine Corps. Araiza attributes his desire to join the Marines to his positive experiences in Boy Scouts and other community service programs.

During his four years in the military, Araiza served as both a Military Police Officer and a Supervising Motor Vehicle Officer in Iraq. He is a Purple Heart Recipient due to injuries he sustained while on a transport mission in Iraq. A truck he was driving was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Araiza was badly wounded suffering multiple broken bones and internal trauma. As a result of that attack he suffered a Traumatic Brain

Injury (TBI) and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

After returning home from Iraq and receiving an honorable discharge, Araiza has began to utilize the education benefits while working as both a security guard and a work study intern at the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

CDVA: What made you want to join the Marines at the age of 17?

Araiza: I was a Boy Scout most of my life and I think I enjoyed it so much because it was about service and discipline things that I knew I would find in the military. Also I knew that I wanted to go to college and felt that joining the military and pursuing my education after my service was something I really wanted to do. The education benefits are wonderful and I am thankful that the United States thanks its servicemen by providing them with education benefits.

CDVA: What was the most difficult part of your service?

Araiza: I would say the hardest part is being away from your family. I have a twin brother, and once we both were given different assignments it was the first time in my life I had been away from him. It is extremely difficult at first when you go to some base to train but even more difficult when you are halfway across the world from your brother who is also your best friend.

CDVA: What advice would you give to other members of the military about to leave service?

Araiza: I would say to form a plan well before they are out of their service. The economy is hard out there and colleges are impacted. I learned when I got out that jobs weren’t easy to find and that I needed a timeline for my education. Our benefits are good but things just won’t fall into your lap. I have a son and I feel confident that the plan I have in place will help to provide for my family as long as I stay diligent and work hard at it.



In what has become an annual tradition, Applebee’s will again thank our nation’s veterans and troops by inviting them to their neighborhood Applebee’s for a free signature entrée on Veterans Day, Friday, November 11, 2011.

CalVet will work with Applebee’s on that day by providing brochures containing information important to veteran families. The brochures, available at all 52 California Applebee’s locations on Veterans Day, contain a simple, postage-paid form with which veterans and veteran families can request CalVet assistance in getting connected to the state and federal benefits they have earned through military service.

“We’re grateful to Applebee’s for letting us reach out to veterans during their Veterans Day event,” said CalVet Secretary Peter J. Gravett. “Only a small percentage of eligible California veterans are taking advantage of important benefits. CalVet is working to change that. Those benefits and others can help veterans and their families successfully move forward after military life,” he said. “We want nothing less for those who served and sacrificed for our country.”

Guests wanting to take advantage of Applebee’s free entrée offer will need to provide proof of service, which includes: U.S. Uniform Services ID Card, U.S. Uniform Services Retired ID Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement, Veterans Organization Card, photograph in uniform or wearing uniform, DD214, Citation or Commendation.

For more information about CalVet’s efforts to reach and assist California veterans, contact Carolyn Ballou at (916) 653-1355 or For more information about Applebee’s “Thank You” to veterans and troops, contact Derek Farley at (704) 941-7353,


This ceremony, open to the public, will honor and remember Veterans

Ventura – A moving Veterans Day Ceremony will be held on Friday, November 11, 2011 at the Veterans Home of California in Ventura from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at 10900 Telephone Road, Ventura, 93004 (at Wells Road).

Guest speakers will include Assemblymember Das Williams, 35th District; Deanna M. Robison, United States Navy Chief Equipment Operator, Port Hueneme; and Jannette Juaregui, author, reporter and military historian. Serving as Master of Ceremonies will be Gerald Olivas, Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2043, Santa Paula.

Also on the day’s program will be Ventura Veterans Home Administrator Brenda Manke; soloist Marlene Ford; bagpipers from the Pacific Highlanders Pipe Band; a rifle squad and the Korean War Veterans Color Guard; Santa Paula Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2043; a patriotic display; a musical performance by “A Little Bit O’ Country” band; and a moving rendition of TAPS by Korean War Veteran Rudy Arellano.

The California Department of Veterans Affairs encourages everyone to come out to the Veterans Home of California in Ventura on November 11, 2011 at 2 p.m. to honor and remember Veterans who so proudly and bravely served their Country.

The Veterans Home of California—Ventura is a 60-bed assisted living Home for Veterans. Veterans who are age 55 or older, or younger if disabled, can apply to this level of care with of their need for supervision with such activities as bathing, dining and/or taking their own medications. These residents are also offered assistance with transportation to medical appointments and community activities.

For more information on the Veterans Home of California—Ventura, or the Veterans Day Ceremony, please call the Ventura Veterans Home at (805) 659-7500.


Noted military speakers and veterans’ advocates will highlight public event

Camarillo, CA - CSU Channel Islands (CI) invites the community, students, faculty and staff to the grand opening of its Veterans Resource Center on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. at the Bell Tower Fountain Courtyard on the CI campus.

The event will include remarks from former NFL player, U.S. Marine, Iraq veteran and noted veteran’s advocate Jeremy Staat; Naval Base Ventura County Commander Capt. James McHugh; University President Richard Rush; Vice President of Student Affairs Wm. Gregory Sawyer; and Student Veterans Organization President Mark Scott. Ron Greenwood, a Vietnam veteran and President of the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, will also present a $2,000 check to the Center.

After the ceremony, the public is invited to tour the Center and enjoy refreshments. Free parking will be provided; please follow the directional signs upon arriving at the campus.

Officially opened to students this fall, the CI Veterans Resource Center is designed to support student veterans beyond the classroom while providing services that reinforce transition and improve retention. The Center offers a comfortable and collegial place for student veterans to study, socialize with other veterans, and meet with academic advisors, tutors and mentors.

“At CI, we’ve seen a growing number of military veterans taking advantage of the G.I. Bill to seek higher education,” said Jay Derrico, Veterans Affairs Program Coordinator. “We wanted to give them a welcoming, supportive environment to help ease their transition from military life to college and civilian life as they pursue their academic goals.”

More than 170 students at CI are veterans, members of the military, or their survivors or dependents – approximately 3 percent of the total student body. That number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. The Department of Veterans Affairs reported that more than 800,000 veterans used the G.I. Bill to continue their education in 2010 – a 42 percent increase over the previous year.

Matthew KlingDeFazio, a Marine who served in Iraq, will graduate from CI this spring with a bachelor’s degree in history. KlingDeFazio works as a student staff member at the Veterans Resource Center and founded the Student Veterans Organization on campus.

“I am very excited for this grand opening because I believe the VRC will serve as a multipurpose center for veterans and civilian students,” KlingDeFazio said. “It’s a place where veterans can speak our minds and be with others that understand what we’ve been through. But I also believe it will also provide a bridge to help civilian students learn more about vets, dispel misconceptions, and raise awareness of the advantages that student veterans bring to our community.”

The grand opening is one in a series of events scheduled to celebrate and support veterans in honor of Veterans Day. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 11 a.m., the Veterans Resource Center will hold workshops for student veterans on job interview techniques, along with a cake cutting celebrating the Marines’ 236th anniversary. On Friday, Nov. 11, a group of student veterans will head to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as volunteer participants in its annual Veterans Day program.

For more information, contact Jay Derrico, Veterans Affairs Program Coordinator, at 805-437-2745 or

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research.


Western intelligence has known it for years

Written By Reza Kahlili

The pressure the United States and the West is bringing to bear on Iran to keep it from acquiring nuclear weapons is all for naught. Not only does the Islamic Republic already have nuclear weapons from the old Soviet Union, but it has enough enriched uranium for more. What’s worse, it has a delivery system.

The West for nearly a decade has worried about Iran’s uranium enhancement, believing Iran is working on a nuclear bomb, though the government maintains its uranium is only for peaceful purposes.

When Iran began its nuclear program in the mid-1980s, I was working as a spy for the CIA within the Revolutionary Guards. The Guards‘ intelligence at that time had learned of Saddam Hussein’s attempt to buy a nuclear bomb for Iraq. Guard commanders concluded that they needed a nuclear bomb because if Saddam were to get his own, he would use it against Iran. At that time, the two countries were at war.

Mohsen Rezaei, then-chief...



Still more evidence of Pakistan's double game.

"Afghanistan: Pakistan accused of backing Taliban," by Sam Collyns for BBC News, October 26:

Pakistan has been accused of playing a double game, acting as America's ally in public while secretly training and arming its enemy in Afghanistan according to US intelligence.

In a prison cell on the outskirts of Kabul, the Afghan Intelligence Service is holding a young man who alleges he was recruited earlier this year by Pakistan's powerful military intelligence agency, the ISI.

He says he was trained to be a suicide bomber in the Taliban's intensifying military campaign against the Western coalition forces - and preparations for his mission were overseen by an ISI officer in a camp in Pakistan.

After 15 days...


SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointment of John Farrell and Alexander Tsao to the California Veterans Board.

“I am very please with the Governor’s appointment of both, Mr. Farrell and Mr. Tsao to this very important board,” said Peter J. Gravett, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs. “Both these appointees bring a wealth of knowledge regarding veterans issues and their commitment to veterans makes them ideal board members.”

John Farrell of Chula Vista is currently a resident of the Veterans Home of California, Chula Vista. Farrell was a private practice attorney from 1983 to 2004. He was a partner at Exarhos and Farrell from 1975 to 1983 and an associate attorney at Milch Wolfsheimer and Wagner from 1974 to 1975. He was a sales manager from 1963 to 1973 and lab technician from 1957 to 1960 at Thompson Photo Service. Farrell was a specialist fifth class in the United States Army serving as a public information officer from 1960 to 1963.

Alexander Tsao of North Hollywood, has been partner at Venerable Counselors at Law since 2010. Tsao was a senior associate at Alston and Bird from 2007 to 2010. Tsao was a captain in the United States Marine Corps serving as a judge advocate from 2004 to 2007. Tsao was an associate at the Law Office of Arnold G. Regardie from 2003 to 2004.

The California Veterans Board serves as an advocate for Veterans affairs identifying needs and working to ensure and enhance the rights and benefits of California Veterans and their dependents.

Others echo call for strength against Iran

President Obama’s decision to pull all U.S. forces out of Iraq by Dec. 31 is an “absolute disaster” that puts the burgeoning Arab democracy at risk of an Iranian “strangling,” said an architect of the 2007 troop surge that turned around a losing war.

Retired ArmyGen. John M. Keane was at the forefront of persuading President George W. Bush to scuttle a static counterinsurgency strategy and replace it with 30,000 reinforcements and a more activist, street-by-street counterterrorism tactic.

Today, even with...


Iraq War Veterans Coming Home!

“With today’s announcement by President Obama that our military engagement in Iraq is coming to an end, I want to remind all Californians that the California Department of Veterans Affairs is ready to receive our nation’s youngest veterans and assist their transition back into civilian life. Our work here at the California Department of Veterans Affairs is even more important as we connect these young men and women with the services and benefits they will need to successfully transition from the battlefield to home. These heroes deserve our gratitude and our respect.”

Mt. Soledad Cross Should Not Be Torn Down

Overseers of War Memorial Plan Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

SAN DIEGO, CA - The full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review or reverse the Ninth Circuit panel decision calling for the removal of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial cross, a monument that has stood in San Diego honoring American soldiers for more than 56 years.

"Although we are disappointed that the Ninth Circuit denied requests to have the full court rehear this case, we are encouraged that five of the judges agree with us and believe the cross should stay," said Kelly Shackelford, Esq., president of Liberty Institute and attorney for the Mount Soledad Memorial Association which oversees the monument. "With this encouragement and the recent ruling in favor of the Mojave Veterans Memorial, we plan to appeal to The Supreme Court."

Represented by Liberty Institute and Morgan Lewis, the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association filed a motion in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last April asking the full court to rehear the case following a panel ruling in January that declared the veterans memorial unconstitutional. The U.S. Department of Justice also filed a request for rehearing.

"People want this veterans memorial to remain as it is, from the thousands who visit it each month to honor our nation's veterans, to the 76 percent of San Diegans who voted to give it to the Federal Government as a national veterans' memorial," said Col. Bruce S. Bailey, USAF (Ret), president of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, which oversees the memorial. "The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association is committed to preserving this veterans memorial so that future generations will also know the cost of freedom."

The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial consists of six concentric walls with plaques honoring more than 2,800 veterans, brick steps, and a cross, which has been the target of litigation for the past 22 years because it sits upon government property.

Liberty Institute is a non-profit legal firm and policy organization dedicated to protecting First Amendment freedoms. The group also represented 4 million veterans of Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart in an effort to protect the Mojave Desert War Memorial from being torn down by the ACLU, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled should stand. Visit for more information.

Ranking by G.I. Jobs places CI in the top 20 percent of colleges who embrace veterans
California State University Channel Islands
California State University Channel Islands

Camarillo, CA - CSU Channel Islands (CI) has been named a “Military Friendly School” in an annual list that highlights colleges and universities who are doing their best to recruit, retain and support military veterans. The ranking, which resulted from a survey of more than 8,000 institutions nationwide, places CI in the top 20 percent of all colleges and universities for its military friendliness. The annual list is compiled by G.I. Jobs magazine, a respected, veteran-owned publisher that targets members of the military.

“This is a great honor for CI to achieve this recognition at such an early stage in our growth as a university,” said Jay Derrico, Veterans Affairs Program Coordinator at CI. “It validates that we’re already doing a good job of embracing military students and veterans – and we’re just getting started.”

In its 2012 listing, G.I. Jobs commends CI for practices such as offering veterans priority registration and transferring help, assistance with G.I. Bill benefits, a Vet 2 Vet mentoring program, two student organizations, customized orientation and academic advising sessions, a veteran-oriented workshop series, a resume-writing service, and a campus Veterans Resource Center where veterans can study, socialize and meet with advisors.

The G.I. Jobs survey analyzed universities’ policies, programs and services for military friendliness and also sought input from currently enrolled veterans and service members. “The Military Friendly Schools designation is the result of an arduous survey process that takes into account both effort (policies) and results (various enrollment and graduation rates),” said Sean Collins, Senior Brand Manager at G.I. Jobs. “Earning the Military Friendly Schools moniker is recognition that CSU Channel Islands’ policies and results are best of breed.”

Currently, 171 students at CI are veterans, members of the military, or their survivors or dependents – approximately 3 percent of the total student body. River Rose, a nursing student who retired from the Navy after 24 years as a sonar technician, said CI’s “Military Friendly” designation was well-deserved. “Long before I even set foot on the campus, the people at CI were reaching out to me and making me feel welcome,” Rose, 50, said. “They work hard to foster a caring network and promote the awareness and development of their veterans. Not only do they care, but they’re also extremely efficient at working to ensure our benefits run smoothly with the Veterans Affairs office.”

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 800,000 veterans took advantage of the G.I. Bill to continue their education in 2010 – a 42 percent increase over the previous year. As a growing number of veterans return to school, favorable ratings from G.I. Jobs’ “Military Friendly Schools” will be helpful to the institutions they recognize as well as to service members seeking a college, said Michael Dakduk, Executive Director for the Student Veterans of America. “The Military Friendly Schools list is the go-to resource for prospective student veterans searching for schools that provide the greatest opportunity and overall experience,” Dakduk said. “Nothing is more compelling than actual feedback from current student veterans.”

For more information on CI’s veterans affairs programs, contact Jay Derrico, Veterans Affairs Program Coordinator, at 805-437-2745 or

To view the 2012 Military Friendly Schools list by G.I. Jobs, visit

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research.

Fresno Veterans Homes Gets $92 Million from the USDVA

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) has received $142 million from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) for construction of the Fresno and Redding Veterans Homes. CalVet will receive $92 million for construction of the 300-bed Veterans Home of California in Fresno and $50 million for construction of the Veterans Home of California in Redding. California will provide approximately $49 million for construction of the Fresno Veterans Home and $27 million for the Redding Veterans Home.

“We are all grateful that the USDVA has agreed to release the funding for our continued construction and procurement for completion of our Redding and Fresno State Veteran Homes,” said Robin Umberg, CalVet Undersecretary for Veterans Homes.

The Fresno Veterans Home’s design veers from a traditional shared-room floor plan to private rooms for veterans, which include special features designed to promote an intimate, residential ambiance. This veterans home will bring more than 400 jobs to the Fresno area.

“I know the opening of both of these homes is something the Governor’s office, CalVet, both sides of the political aisle, the USDVA, veterans service organizations, and these local communities all want to see happen,” stated Umberg. “We are all working together to do all that we can to open these two homes as soon as possible.”

CalVet reminds veterans in need and their families that they have the option of using one of the other California Veterans Homes located in Barstow, Chula Vista, Lancaster, Ventura, West Los Angeles, and Yountville until our Redding and Fresno Homes are up and running. Please go to for more information.

The Veterans Home of California – Fresno will be located at 2811 West California Avenue, Fresno, CA 93706.


SACRAMENTO, CA – Secretary Peter J. Gravett, California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), today praised Governor Brown for acknowledging the contributions and special needs of veterans who make California their home, when he signed legislation that will expand housing options for veterans and extend the priority registration for veterans going to state colleges and universities.

“Governor Brown has once more demonstrated his commitment to the veterans of our nation,” said Gravett. “I applaud the Governor for signing legislation that is unprecedented for the CalVet Farm and Home Loan Program. This legislation will be a major step forward by offering veterans dynamic housing options and maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency our CalVet programs.”

CalVet thanks Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella); Assemblymember Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles); and the Committee on Veterans Affairs for carrying these pieces of legislation.

AB 697 by Assemblymember Pérez gives specific authority for CalVet to provide refinancing opportunities under the CalVet Home Loan Program to eligible veterans who are not current contract holders. The mortgage crisis has impacted veterans who have mortgages at financial institutions outside of the CalVet Home Loan Program, and who are subject to rising interest rates as a result of adjustable rate mortgages. This bill will allow those veterans to refinance their loan, as long as the loan is in good standing, not upside down on the value of the house and would make good financial sense for both the CalVet Home Loan Program and the veteran.

AB 1084 by Assemblymember Davis will expand the definition of “home” as defined in the CalVet Farm and Home Loan Program to include “cooperative housing corporation.” This bill will allow CalVet to engage in a greatly needed service utilizing proven housing finance options for low and middle income people and is a pragmatic and beneficial method for housing veterans and their families, reducing homelessness among veterans and improving the economy.

SB 813 by the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs will increase the time veterans attending California’s public institutions receive priority enrollment from two to four years to facilitate the maximum and efficient use of veterans federal education benefits. This change in statute will help alleviate the difficulties veterans face when they attempt to coordinate their federal education benefits, such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, with registration for enrollment in classes at one of California’s public colleges or universities. By extending the priority enrollment time frame, not only will veterans maximize their Post 9/11 GI Bill funding, but California will receive more federal veteran education money in a time when the State’s colleges and universities are in need of additional resources.


Written by Billy Hallowell

WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) — The Pentagon has decided that military chaplains may perform same-sex unions, whether on or off a military installation.

The ruling announced Friday by the Pentagon’s personnel chief follows the Sept. 20 repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that had prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. According to CNN, a memo that was released on Friday reads:

“A military chaplain may...

Ex-secretary says aviation needs swagger

Written by By Rowan Scarborough

The Navy’s former top civilian has rocked the service in a military journal article by accusing officials of sinking the storied naval air branch into a sea of political correctness.

Former Navy Secretary John Lehman, himself a former carrier-based aviator, wrote that the swagger and daring of yesterday’s culture has given way to a focus on integrating women and, this year, gays.

Pilots constantly worry about anonymous complaints about salty language, while squadron commanders are awash in bureaucratic requirements for reports and statistics, he added.

“Those attributes of...


Sacramento, CA - The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) is seeking partners to help the California Interagency Council (the Council) on Veterans improve the coordination of veterans services across governmental and private sectors. The Council is tasked with identifying and prioritizing the needs of California’s veterans and to coordinate the activities at all levels of government in addressing those needs.

“The first and immediate step is to organize this council’s membership and it’s community partners,” said CalVet Secretary Peter Gravett. “We need not reinvent the wheel in this process; instead we need to be able to break down silos and direct veterans to existing resources in an efficient manner.”

To ensure that the council is successful, CalVet requests that representatives from local government, charitable organizations, private healthcare and any other organizations that work with veterans contact the department if they are interested in an active role with the Council. Membership is limited but the department is seeking the input of organizations with demonstrated success delivering services to California’s veterans.

Executive Order B-9-11 directs the Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs to establish the Council and work to immediately prioritize the needs of California’s 2 million veterans, with a focus on streamlining the way services are delivered.

To be a partner in the Council’s effort, please email CalVet at PAO@CALVET.CA.GOV, with the name of your organization, background and contact information.


Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson was laid to rest Friday in Rockford, Iowa, where an estimated 1,500 mourners came to pay respects for the fallen Navy SEAL, including his dog Hawkeye. In fact, Hakeye’s loyalty to his owner at the funeral was visible, creating a heart-wrenching image as he laid down by the casket of his owner during the entire service...

"Bikers helping Veterans" Held on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, this event will also honor the victims and heroes of 9/11

Los Angeles, CA – A “Bikers Helping Veterans” 9/11 West Coast Motorcycle Charity Ride to benefit the new Veterans Home of California in West Los Angeles, will be held on September 11, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Veterans Home located at 11500 Nimitz Avenue in Los Angeles.

The benefit ride is sponsored by Barger and Bartels Harley-Davidson dealerships, the Westside HOG Chapter and participating dealerships – and is the first fundraiser for the Veterans Home of California—West Los Angeles, the largest Veterans Home in Los Angeles County. The event is being held on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Victims and heroes of 9/11 will be honored and remembered.

“This will be a wonderful way to remember those men and women in the U.S. Military who sacrifice so much for us every day and to honor those men and women who died on that fateful September day 10 years ago,” said Peter J. Gravett, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

A patriotic program, flag ceremony, vendors, music, lots of food, raffles and celebrities are all part of the day’s event. Commemorative t-shirts, caps and pins will also be for sale. All proceeds will go to the Veterans Home residents’ welfare and recreation fund, and used for such items as electronic and board games; movie, theater or sporting events tickets; arts and crafts; recreational equipment; computers; trips and more -- anything that might improve the quality of life for Veterans Home residents. For an entry form, information on group rides from dealerships, time, route map and directions, please log on to or email

“This benefit ride on Patriot Day is not only a motorcycle ride, but is open to the public for anyone who wishes to honor and help our Veterans and the new Veterans Home of California in West Los Angeles,” said Loretta Hanson, owner of Barger Harley-Davidson co-sponsor of the event. “A $25 entry fee (for rider pre-registrations or ride-ins or walk-ins) is a donation to the Veterans Home. All donations are appreciated and all raffle proceeds are donated to the Home. Please join us and help our Veterans and honor 9/11.”

The Veterans Home of California—West Los Angeles is a newly constructed, stunning 396-bed, long-term care facility located adjacent to the VA Hospital in West Los Angeles. The Veterans Home provides California veterans with a living environment that protects their dignity and contributes to their feeling of self-reliance and self-worth.

The Veterans Home offers two levels of care that provide continuity in the lives of residents in a homelike atmosphere of dignity and respect: an Assisted Living Unit, now open; and a Skilled Nursing Unit with memory care is estimated to open in 2012. Amenities include: room and board – three meals plus snacks; medical care and medications; optical care, dental care and podiatry services; transportation services to all medical appointments and off-campus activities; a beauty/barber shop, multi-purpose room; limited banking services; opportunities for worship for all denominations; a modern fitness room and exercise classes; restorative therapy center; libraries; cable television; housekeeping and laundry services; a caring and compassionate staff; a variety of community outings; and an enhanced activity program.

For information on the Veterans Home of California—West Los Angeles, please call toll-free at 877-605-1332 or log on to the CalVet website at

For more information on the 9/11 West Coast Charity Ride “BIKERS HELPING VETERANS,” please log on to or email

Saturday, August 20

Ventura, CA - The Veterans Home of California – Barstow will hold an American Cruisers MC Bike and Car Show one Saturday, August 20 from 11 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at 100 Veterans Parkway, Barstow, CA.

There will be live entertainment, food, music, vendors, drawings and a People’s Choice Bike and Car Show competition. Cars will be judged in four categories: Classic, Antique, Hotrods, and Trucks. Bikes will be judged in 3: American, Metric, and Sport. Winners will be announced at 3:00 p.m. $5 dollars will buy you a meal with all proceeds going to support the Barstow Veterans Home Fund.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the Barstow and surrounding communities to come together for some family fun while at the same time helping to support the Veterans Home of California in Barstow,” said Robin Umberg, CalVet Undersecretary for Veterans Homes.

For additional information contact Big John at

Please come out and support the Veterans Horne of California-Barstow at the American Cruisers MC Bike and Car Show this Saturday!

For information about the Veterans Home of California -- Barstow please call 800-746-0606. For information on other Veterans Homes of California, veterans benefits and services, please visit the CalVet website at

Doctors had told him he wouldn't live past 50

A Second World War veteran who was the oldest living survivor of the Bataan Death March has died at the age of 105.

Albert Brown was recognised as the oldest survivor of the deadly 65-mile trek at an annual survivors' convention in 2007. He died on Sunday at an Illinois nursing home.

Japanese soldiers forced Brown and...