South Valley veterans' resource, The Reedley Armory, might shut down

REEDLEY, Calif. (KFSN) -- For veterans the Reedley Armory is home. It's a place where they can come together, work on projects and escape the outside world.

"It is not just a building to people," said retired staff sergeant Michael Anthony-Ochoa. "People, they need this, they need this in their lives."

The National Guard first used it in the '80s, but over the years it was transformed. Three veteran groups came together to form The Reedley Area Veterans.

"They have talked about their stories, about their time in the war and we have helped heal some veterans," said Ralph Urbano, Veteran and Armory staff member.

The state gave them the license to maintain and operate the Armory. Three years ago it was changed into a lease which is now up in January of 2019. Recently they found out, it won't be renewed and the state also plans to sell the building. Gold Star mom Susan Lusk and veterans are working hard to keep doors open.

"They need a place, they need a home and with the kinds of issues that are veterans are dealing with coming back into society and trying to find their place," said Lusk "They need their own place."

Anthony-Ochoa said the armory is vital to veterans. He saw his brother get married here, others have said their final goodbyes to their brothers there.

"You take them out of their comfort zone, and you take this away they kind of look at people like, well where do we go now?" he said. "Some of them won't even go anywhere else because they have such bad trust issues."

The hall can also be rented for events. Most money gathered goes to high school scholarships.

"We've been doing that for a number of years, probably close to $80,000 in scholarships," said Urbano.

Recently the building was appraised. They are not sure what the price is, but they are asking for the communities support. They are also working closely with the city in hopes of keeping the Armory.
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