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Volunteers pitch in to fix up VA veterans home in West Los Angeles

November 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Many people used their day off on Veterans Day to volunteer to help improve the VA veterans home in West Los Angeles.

More than 350,000 veterans call Los Angeles home. More than 100 of those vets live at the Veterans Home of California in West Los Angeles. That's also where dozens of volunteers helped with improvements such as planting trees and working on activity rooms on Monday.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the veterans and the volunteers.

"The best way for us to honor them when they've sacrificed, when they've gone to war, when they've served the country, is to make sure that they have the services, to make sure that they have the housing," said Villaraigosa.

As the United States brings home the men and women who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, the need for services increases. The returning vets need medical attention and jobs.

"We all realize it's going to take a community to reach out to those veterans and help them transition," said retired Army Brigadier General Robin Umberg, deputy secretary with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet).

"The resources, I believe, are there. The resources are there. It is, 'How can we connect them specifically to each veteran?'" said Umberg.

Sprucing up the Veterans Administration buildings and grounds is one way volunteers rolled out the welcome mat to make the vets' transition a little easier.

"America has over the years sent our men and women to war and then when they come back we've not made enough investments in making sure that they transition, that they have the housing and the jobs that they need," said Villaraigosa.


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