According to the US Census Bureau, there were 778 veterans living on Vashon Island as of 2015 and the number of Gulf War era veterans had doubled since 2010. “We are seeing a larger number of young veterans on the island and at the same time are seeing the veterans we have known for years experiencing various hardships.” said Mike Mattingly, Commander Post 159 American Kegion“We are focused on addressing the needs of island veterans. There is a growing desire to bring community vets together, identify available services and to support each other.”
Our open house planning has been in development for several months and a topic of American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts meetings on Vashon since January. In addition to providing a social environment for island vets to connect, the event will host American Legion Service Officers who can help process applications for US Veterans Administration enrollment and aid, disability benefits, provide information regarding education, employment and business, and help apply for ID cards and military records.
In addition, some of the island’s health and wellness providers who accept VA payments, Choice cards and Tricare will be in attendance. “We are hoping this is just the first step toward addressing the needs of our community.” said Roy Bumgarner“It is the beginning of a dialogue that will lead us toward a better vision of what we can do to serve those who have served us.”
The event will be held at Sunrise Ridge in building 1 (the old Granny’s Attic location) on March 25th from 10am – 2pm and welcomes veterans, their friends and families. Refreshments and snacks will be provided.