Veterans have an office to call their own

Veterans and company, including family, friends, and county administration attend meeting Tuesday

Photo by Lisa Morton

By Lisa Morton

The Van Horn Veterans Association met last Tuesday morning and voted to reopen the 507 Crockett Street location in Van Horn for Veterans services office needs.  County Judge Carlos Urias was on hand to encourage the group’s Board comprised of Commander Perry Klippstein, Sgt. At Arms Wendell Long, 1st Lieutenant Rusty Kincheleo, Secretary Sooky Borrego, Chaplin Rodney Tilley, and Treasurers Hazel Klippstein, Amaro Munoz and Ralph Gilmore.  “We are blessed to have this formidable group accept this undertaking that benefits our veterans”, said Judge Urias.   

The residence location owned by the 4-H Club, was restructured and partially renovated over a year ago by the Board, veterans and volunteers.  The agreement between the Board and the 4-H includes the provisions that the 4-H continues to pay for electricity, while the association maintains the facility and grounds, although there is currently there is a need for yard equipment, and donations for such equipment are being solicited.  The location also houses a Vietnam Memorial mural and all who served in Viet Nam are asked to drop-in and place their name on the artwork.

The Veterans have made good use of their new facility and have hosted events such as a Valentine’s Party for veterans and their families as well as holding regular meetings there.  Unfortunately, the cold weather has dampened use of any gatherings, but the group is making plans for their 2nd Annual Valentine’s Party on Saturday, February 11, 2017.   There is a need for volunteers to help with decorating, food preparation, door prize donations, supplies donations, and other details to insure that the event is a success.

The Veterans Association has been fortunate enough to obtain several pieces of furniture and equipment at the last local consolidation auction.  Their take included computers, fax machine, scanner, copy machine, and even some good old fashioned electric typewriters for those veterans who might be timid with a PC.  The Veterans Association began about 3 years ago with meetings at the City/County Park, followed by gatherings at the El Capitan Conference Room, until recently when their agreement with the 4-H brought it to the current location.  Veterans from Van Horn, Valentine and Sierra Blanca have reached out to the association through the years, with interest growing with the recent acquisition of their own facility.  Cruz Antonio Varela and his wife Manuela from Sierra Blanca said there are many more that are interested in the service and comradery the Veterans group offers.

Hazel Klippstein, one of the association treasurers, is glad to be getting the word out about the reopening and welcomes all Veterans, volunteers and ideas for the Association.  The group will be promoting a Color Guard to support families of veterans who pass away.  They are also working on several projects to assist veterans in need, ranging from those stranded in Van Horn to roof repair and small bathroom renovation projects.  The Van Horn Advocate has been asked to include a Veterans Bio Column to familiarize the community with current and former military men and women who served our country.

Judge Urias has encouraged the group not to give up and to keep the program going now that they have support from both the County and the City.  “Whatever funds are granted, spend it all”, the Judge said.  The Judge invited the group to visit county court from time to time to update them on office activities.  Prior to the meetings adjournment, the Association expressed their gratitude to Judge Urias, the County Commissioners’ Court and the Town of Van Horn for their support.  The support will keep the office open weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  There is internet service for use by veterans and there will always be a helping hand to point folks in the right direction for assistance.