The state of California is home to over 1.8 million former service members. While this highlights the fact that the state is home to the largest veteran population of any U.S., ensuring that veterans are supported is essential in appreciating their service. For veterans in Santa Clarita, support can be found in various ways — through organized events to services that aim to help mental health. From the efforts out there to how you can get involved, here’s what you should know.
Making a difference in multiple ways
Located in the Santa Clarita Valley on Sierra Highway and Placerita Canyon Road, Blue Star Ranch is a non-profit horse ranch that supports veterans who experience Post-Secondary Stress Disorder (PTSD) via Equine Assisted Therapy at no cost to the veteran. The Santa Clarita Magazine elaborates on the initiative, noting “A one hour session consists of the veteran working through a series of exercises to improve communication and collaboration with the support of a Licensed Counselor, Equine Specialist, and therapy horse(s).” The article goes on to mention U.S. Army Veteran and Blue Star Ranch Graduate Mike Salinas. In part of a review, Salinas states, “The interaction with the horses and props brings up all sorts of different emotions that you did not even recognize you had bottled up inside. The methods of talking, grooming the horses, grounding techniques and troubleshooting problems are very relaxed and easy going. I often left with a smile on my face and feeling like a tremendous burden had been lifted. The therapy feels whole and complete.”
In addition to community efforts, a wide variety of resources also work to support veterans following their time in the military on a nationwide scale. VA educational benefits, medical benefits, and confidential counseling and support are just a few of many worth looking into. For those who have a disability, VA disability compensation is another form of support that may be available. Due to the factors that are involved — such as the percentage rating that the VA assigns to every disability claimed or reasonably raised by a veteran — utilizing an online tool such as a VA disability calculator can aid greatly in determining an estimated compensation.
An upcoming Appreciation Day
For those looking to actively take part in supporting the veterans of Santa Clarita, a Veterans and First Responders Appreciation Day will be sponsored by the Santa Clarita Elks Lodge 2379 and Los Angeles County Chapter, Marines and Corpsmen Association on Saturday, October 8th. Taking place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Elks Lodge (located at 17766 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country), SCVnews.com notes that the event will present a great opportunity “to visit, talk to, and say thanks in person to our active duty soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen,” in addition to first responders. With special guests including the United States Marine Corps Mounted Guard, SVC News further mentions that attendees can also enjoy “plenty of food and drinks, including kettle corn, shave ice, and soft drinks.”
California is home to a large veteran population. With efforts in place to help support the veterans of Santa Clarita, showing your appreciation can be done in person at the Veterans and First Responders Appreciation Day on October 8th.