Serving those who served

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By Carol A. Clark

 New Mexico is receiving two 38-foot motor coaches from the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (USDVA) in Washington, D.C.

The mobile centers will serve military Veterans, according to a news release by the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services (NMDVS) Friday.

The vehicles will be outfitted to allow counseling services in a comfortable and confidential setting, according to the release.

The mobile centers will be based at the Veterans’ Centers in Santa Fe and Las Cruces and can be deployed on an as-needed basis anywhere throughout the state.

“This is an exceptional joint effort between us and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs to reach out to veterans who need counseling services but live too far from our facilities in New Mexico’s bigger cities and towns, “NMDVS Cabinet Secretary John Garcia said. “The purpose of our two departments is to reach out and help veterans in need. These mobile centers will help us broaden our reach.”

Commander Gene Tucker of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8874, has been with the local VFW sine 1995 and served as commander since 1998. Tucker said that in Los Alamos, Veteran’s Service Officer, Jeff George, from the NMDVS makes a weekly visit to the local post to assist area Veterans.

“The officer comes up every Friday at 9:30 a.m. and helps vets fill out paper work to get the services they need such as medical and dental assistance,” Tucker said. “But the mobile service is a very good thing for places like Tierra Amarilla and Questa where many of the Veterans are very elderly, which makes it a real challenge for them to travel to Santa Fe or Albuquerque for help.”

From the mobile centers, counselors will provide general non-medical re-adjustment counseling  and post-traumatic military service counseling for any veteran or their families.

The mobile centers      also will allow counselors to provide re-adjustment counseling and post-deployment health re-assessments for active-duty soldiers returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mobile counseling centers are being sent to all                       50 states by the USDVA. New Mexico should be receiving its vehicles in the next three months.