Message from VEAP:
Active duty military, veterans, and their families will be welcome at the 7th Annual Public Veterans Expo, with music by Heatwave, free food, military exhibits, interested local legislators, and a 60+- booth trade show staffed by people who serve a wide array of veterans’ needs.
Veterans who are caught in the red tape of getting benefits need to attend this year’s Veterans Expo. The Seventh Annual Veterans Expo will be held on Saturday, April 8 starting at 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Indio Fairgrounds in the Fullenwider Building on the corner of I-10 and Arabia Street. Transportation is being offered free of charge, by Sunline Transit District’s SunBus. Busses will honor veterans, military and accompanying family members between 7am and 3pm on the day of the event with proof of military service.
The 2016 Expo saw more than 1500 veterans and family members enjoy walk-up information and services at more than 65 booths. In 2017, the unveiling of the memorial John Benoit Award, will honor two award recipients who are Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan currently stationed at 29-Palms Marine Base. In addition, there will be two local, distinguished veterans and two outstanding JROTC cadets honored.
The Veterans Easy Access Program(VEAP) through The Salvation Army Dick and Beverly Davis Community Center, Cathedral City, organizes the event. VEAP is a unique umbrella organization of more than 150 local veteran’s groups, non-profits, and legislators either directly or indirectly serving veterans in a wide variety of ways. Bill Young (USAF, Ret.), Salvation Army Advisory Board Member, who coordinates VEAP and helped spearhead past Expos, describes Expo’s goal as “to bring together, as wide a cross-section of veterans’ services providers as possible in one location.” Young notes that many veterans were able to get immediate help on the spot at last year’s Expo with leads about job training and opportunities and by initiating their VA paperwork, which allows them to receive assistance from the Loma Linda VA . Other attendees learned about and signed up for long-term care for elderly veterans in their families.
One particularly moving feature of each year’s Expo is the participation of so many local businesses and volunteers who are veterans themselves and, having been helped by various services, want to give back to their fellow service members. But equally important is that this is a day, just to go out with your family and pay tribute to our National military. Bring the kids to the “toy building” program, sponsored by Home Depot, where kids can build a wooden project while being supervised by Salvation Army staff.
Admission is Free. Free hot dogs and drinks start at 11am. Anyone seeking benefits should be prepared to present their DD-214 form or provide a Social Security Number and dates of service. For further information, call Bill Young at 760/861-0037.