Vet center welcomes community


Marcus Castro, Editor in Chief

The Bakersfield Vet Center honored veterans on the anniversary of 9/11 and opened their doors to the community.

The Vet Center thought that since many veterans went to war immediately after these attacks that they would honor them with an open house event to show them what the center offers.

“It’s a national day of service…we open the Vet Center to people who haven’t seen it,” said manager Jenny Frank. “It’s a community-based welcoming center.”

The open house event had a tour as well as a presentation in which people that worked there described their roles at the Vet Center.

“The first thing we do is give them [veterans] a welcoming environment,” said team leader Joe Acosta. “They deserve a 110 percent of our effort to keep on going on.”

Acosta explained that the unique thing about this Vet Center is that they specialize in working with combat veterans. He explained that most of the staff is actually fellow veterans themselves.

Nicole Allain is a readjustment counselor who works with veterans and the families of veterans.

“We work with the family because we realize that the family served as well, just in a different way,” said Allain.

Allain also explained that the center has quite a few events that get the families of veterans involved. There is Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas events for families to come to.

“When I see a veteran, I’m not just helping a client, I see my family,” said Allain.

Also a readjustment counselor, Guadalupe Sanchez explained that the center helps out with veterans who suffer from all sorts of psychological problems.

“Some people come in needing help with PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder], so I try to teach them some coping skills,” said Sanchez. “A lot of times, communication skills are good for veterans.”

Sanchez stated that the center has social groups for the veterans in order for them to socialize with other people that are in the same position they are in.

Justin Whipple explained his role at the center as helping veterans who are having problems, whether it’s physical or mental, get back to work or go to school. He explained that he’s seen veterans that have gone to do good work in jobs like construction or janitorial work. Whipple states that he has also seen veterans go back to schools, such as USC, and eventually become doctors.

Outreach Coordinator Armando Trujillo explained how he goes out to various events in Kern County to let people know about the center.

“One way or another, we try to get them in here…when they need it [the vet center], they will know where it is,” said Trujillo.

Trujillo drives the new Mobile Vet Center. “It is an emergency vehicle. It has a telehealth computer system and satellite communications, so that it can be deployed anywhere in the continental United States to provide either counseling or medical services,” said Sanchez.

The Bakersfield Vet Center is located at 1110 Golden State Ave., and to reach the center call (661) 323-8387.