Palm Desert, CA
The Cal State-San Bernardino campus in Palm Desert is offering a new kind of university, one that officials say is dedicated to helping local veterans.
Veteran Gabriel Razcoadurazo was running late on his way to Veterans University, but he also happened to run into Congressman Raul Ruiz.
"I was late and I got to run into him and I told him a lot of veterans, we lose hope," says Razcoadurazo. "And we fall into cycles of suicide and depression and it becomes difficult to find someone or even accept any kind of help. So when we find someone who’ll help us it helps us a lot more than we thought it would."
Razcoadurazo moved to the Coachella Valley thanks to a housing program for veterans. "I was awarded a house through Operation Homefront about 2 years ago… this program kind of gave me hope. I was able to move out here and provide my family with a better livelihood."
And it’s those kinds of programs, available to veterans, that Congressman Ruiz says he’s hoping to make more accessible to those who serve our nation.
"So this is just a partnership coming together to educate, train our local veterans and their family members and anybody who works with veterans to better serve our veterans," Rep. Ruiz says. "Our collective vision is to make this district the most veteran friendly community in the nation."
KMIR’s own Dan Ball, an Air Force Veteran, was the day’s MC as veterans learned from a variety of speakers and presenters where to find help and how to advocate for themselves and other veterans.
"I believe it’s only going to continue to grow, to get better," Rep. Ruiz says. "And the point here is that the veterans must come first and be the center of all of our efforts."
Ruiz says his office budgets for this event and that "a lot of volunteers" also pay for the inaugural Veteran’s University.