American Legion Post 507, a Santa Clarita-based organization supporting veterans of foreign wars, named a new commander Thursday.
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Jeanine “Tootsie” Imperial was named the new commander, and former SCV Man of the Year Greg Nutter will remain first vice commander, according to J.D. Kennedy, who led the local chapter of the nation’s largest wartime-service veterans organization for the last two years.
“We’re chartered by Congress to help veterans get benefits,” Kennedy said. “We do that in many different ways — we file the paperwork, assist veterans with access to their federal and state benefits — but Post 507 has also worked with local businesses, the city, and other organizations to better serve veterans with any immediate needs they may have.”
The group has approximately 750 members, all told, including auxiliary groups, Kennedy said.
Post 507, which is headquartered in Newhall, also supports “patriotism” and “Americanism,” Kennedy said, through support of local groups, such as the Boy Scouts of America. While the board was named Thursday night, there will be an installation ceremony in June, Kennedy said.
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“A lot of their families can’t afford their dues, so we help out with that,” Kennedy said “anything the pack needs whether it’s help with an event or earning badges.”
Building community partnerships has been something Kennedy has really enjoyed the last two years, particularly with assistance to the local Habitat for Heroes project, which is bringing a first-of-its-kind veteran housing community to Santa Clarita.
He credited the city of Santa Clarita, as well as groups like the SCV Chamber of Commerce, for stepping up and supporting veterans with efforts that include scholarships for returning veterans and transportation, to help veterans get back on their feet.
“There’s a backlog, there’s a bureaucracy,” Kennedy said, discussing obstacles hindering veterans’ access to their benefits. “If you’re a veteran and your life needs help right now, there’s a way.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News