Goodwill of Orange County dedicates 'The Great Room,' new space to help veterans on path to success

Shayla Girardin Image
Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Goodwill of Orange County dedicates new space to help veterans
"Everything we do here is to help veterans be successful." Goodwill of Orange County set up "The Great Room" at the Tierney Center for Veteran Services in Tustin to provide a space to offer services to help members of the military.

TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) -- Goodwill of Orange County is dedicating a new space to those who've served.

"Veterans need basic assistance, food, housing, employment services, behavioral health - everything we do here is to help veterans be successful," said Nicole Suydam, president, Goodwill of Orange County.

"The Great Room" is located at the Tierney Center for Veteran Services in Tustin and serves as a collaborative space for veterans.

"They hold themselves in high regard and they don't want to ask for assistance so eventually they try to take on the world by themselves and realize without a team supporting the, it's really difficult and that's where we try to come in," said Michael Wayne Carter, operations manager.

Carter is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran. He served from 2004 to 2023 as an Infantry Unit Leader. He now works as the Operations Manager of the Tierney Center - investing in his fellow veterans every day and using resources like "The Great Room" to make it happen.

"I saw my Marines that got out after four years struggle not knowing where to start for resources, not knowing what to do for school. I saw firsthand from my brothers and sisters suffering when they got out of the military and ever since then, I've been trying to give back to veterans," said Carter.

The 11,000-square-foot space will provide a location for Orange County organizations to work together - creating positive change for veterans.

"They don't know where to start. Cleaning up their resume, tailoring their resume to any job they want to seek in the future is the first hurdle to get through. Once we do that, we help them with their interview skills, give them mock questions and help them get ready for the interview," said Manny De Anda, employment and training supervisor.

Services at the Tierney Center are free to veterans and include everything from financial assistance to peer support and employment services.

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