Operation Welcome Home

FRESNO, Calif. Details of the Governor's 20 million dollar plan called Operation Welcome Home will have 9 regional offices. Fresno County will be one of those nine tasked to carry out the plan which calls for more than 3 hundred current returning combat vets to be trained to offer support, training, assistance and guidance as the transition back into civilian life.

His words came in a joint session of the California legislature where a number of returning veterans were given a standing ovation and lengthy applause when Governor Schwarzenegger introduced them saying, "To these men and women welcome home, welcome home."

They are no longer in a combat zone. Their current tour of duty is over but Governor Schwarzenegger, who visited the troops just this past November, told the legislature California's obligation to them isn't, "Many have served tour after tour and as a result have lost homes, spouses, limbs and even their lives."

To honor and serve that sacrifice the governor has ordered the state to launch "Operation Welcome Home": a new veteran to veteran outreach that will employ 325 current era combat veterans. The goal is to assist, educate, support and find employment for other returning combat veterans of current conflicts.

The program will operate in nine regional areas including one with headquarters in Fresno. The need - says Charles Hunnicutt - Fresno's veterans' service officer is very real, "You're coming from a hostile environment to a calm environment and they're just dropped off." Hunnicutt's office assists many older vets with claims, benefits and services. Today's combat vets he says often feel lost when they get home, "They just feel out of place and want to turn around and go back to combat because they feel more comfortable in that environment."

And he believes the Governor's plan for current combat vets' reaching out to other 'current combat vets, will work, "Where you build a bond or a rapport with somebody and at that point you trust 'em and at that point they are going to be more willing to go into that office and apply for benefits."

PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder is a rising reality in today's returning veterans. Governor Schwarzenegger is convinced that relying on each other on the home front, as they did on the battlefield, may be just what they need to succeed in the Golden State.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION

Operation Welcome Home - California
http://www.veterans.ca.gov

Operation Welcome Home U-TUBE
http://www.youtube.com/user/CaliforniaEDD

VETERANS SERVICE OFFICE - FRESNO COUNTY
Charles Hunnicutt - Veterans Service Officer
3845 N. CLARK ST., SUITE #101
FRESNO, CA 93726-4812
TELEPHONE: (559) 454-5436
FAX: (559) 454-5400
http://www2.co.fresno.ca.us/7110/index.htm
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