Reported by Miki Knutson, MCFRC
Starting January 23, U.S. Military veterans and their families will have a place to come for help in obtaining the military service benefits they have earned.
On the fourth Thursday of every month, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Joe Acosta, team leader and counselor from the Bakersfield Vet Center, will be available at the Mountain Communities Family Resource Center in Frazier Park.
The Bakersfield Vet Center is funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to assist in readjustment counseling. A wide range of services are offered to eligible veterans and their families in the effort to make a successful transition from military to civilian life.
Acosta is also available to make presentations in any forum in the community regarding Vet Center services and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He served with the United States Army 75th Ranger Regiment special operations force.
The Vet Center program was established in 1979 to assist veterans who were having problems readjusting after their return from deployment. Today the goal of the program is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach and referral services to eligible veterans.
Family members of combat veterans have also been eligible since its beginning for Vet Center readjustment counseling services for military-related issues.
Those services include individual and group counseling for veterans and their families; family counseling for military related issues; bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death; military sexual trauma counseling and referral; community outreach and education, including post-deployment health reassessments (PDHRA) and substance abuse assessment and referral; employment assessment and referral; VBA benefits explanation and referral; screening and referral for medical issues including traumatic brain injury and depression.
Vets and their family members are eligible for service if the vet served in any combat zone and received a military campaign ribbon, including those who served in Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf War, Somalia, Kosovo/Bosnia, World War II, the Korean Conflict, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism. Federally activated Reserve and National Guard personnel also receive services.
Family members eligible encompass surviving parents, spouses, children and siblings of service members.
These services are provided at no cost to the veteran or family.
If you or anyone you know would like an appointment or more information regarding the counseling services provided by the Vet Center, call 661-323-8387 or 8388 to speak with Joe Acosta. Vet Center brochures are also available at the MCFRC.
Joe Acosta of the Bakersfield Vet Center will be here monthly
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This is part of the January 17, 2014 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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