Veterans event in Glendale offers services

Independent Newsmedia

Glendale’s fifth annual “Stand Up for Veterans,” which helps with jobs and other services is 8 a.m.- 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23 at Glendale Community College, 6000 W. Olive Ave.

Organizers are now accepting business, nonprofit and government agency partner applications.

“The reason I started this event was to help struggling veterans regain their dignity and pride. Stand Up does just that,” said Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers who initiated the Glendale Stand Up event five years ago. “They can potentially walk into the event without a job and bogged down with legal issues, and they can walk out of the event gainfully employed with essentially a clean slate. That truly can change someone’s life for the better.”

More than 1,000 veterans have attended the community outreach event in its history.

A new offering this year will be the Community College’s Veteran Services Center. The center provides veteran and military students and their families one-on-one help getting into college and staying on the path of success. The center is a one-stop facility offering services, including admissions, financial aid, advisement, career services, referrals and specific military-related resources.

“Glendale Community College, one of the top nationally ranked veteran-friendly schools, is proud to be part of such an important event to support our veterans,” said Dr. Teresa Leyba Ruiz, interim GCC president. “It’s not just about veterans, it’s about their families too—all of those who have made sacrifices—and GCC is happy to be part of it.”

As many as 50 employers who are presently hiring will have representatives and interviewers at the event with many hiring veterans that very day. Advisors will also offer professional resume-building suggestions and other job search assistance.

A local committee representing city, state and federal agencies, local businesses and nonprofit partners executes Glendale Stand Up for Veterans. At the event veterans will have the opportunity to gain employment on the spot and may access a wide array of services.

Another critical service on hand that day is access to court and legal services. Glendale City Court Presiding Judge Elizabeth Finn will be representing more than 18 courts of Arizona municipal courts where veterans with criminal and civil cases may be able to satisfy outstanding court fines and fees by performing a community service work project. Veterans with active arrest warrants on criminal misdemeanors can have those warrants quashed.

Judges representing many additional Justice Courts in Maricopa County will also be present to offer similar opportunities to reduce or eliminate court fines through community service. Glendale’s Community Services Department will provide transportation from Glendale Community College to historic Sahuaro Ranch Park, where the community beautification work service project will take place.

The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division will be present to advise veterans of requirements for reinstatement of their driving privileges and other MVD business.

The city Prosecutors Office will also be on hand. Additional free legal services will include consultation with members of the State Bar of Arizona on all civil matters and with attorneys from the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office on felony matters.

“Having someone come to the event with a suspended license which prevents them securing appropriate employment is a challenge, but that situation can become extremely rewarding,” said Judge Finn. “They complete community restitution benefiting the city of Glendale and leave with a valid license.”

Sandy Coor Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1433 in Glendale serves as the nonprofit administrator of the event, working in partnership with the committee.

Ed Besta, returning Stand Up for Veterans Committee chairman, and senior vice commander of Glendale’s VFW Post 1433 stated, “Stand Up for Veterans supports the VFW motto: ‘No One Does More For Veterans,’ and our VFW Sandy Coor Post membership is especially proud of its remarkable 91-year history of supporting veterans in our local community.”

Primary funding for the event is provided by Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services through a grant from the Veteran’s Donation Fund.

Veterans can apply for health-care and other benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and social service agencies.

Glendale’s Community Action Program will also be in attendance. The CAP office partners regularly with U.S. Vets to assist veterans in need. Nonprofits will assist with family and personal matters.

Although offering social assistance, Mayor Weiers emphasizes that this event differs from “Stand Down” event,s which provide needed supplies and services specifically to homeless veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“These are people who have served our country, and they deserve an opportunity to be given a second chance with the tools to succeed, so our goal is to reach them before they hit rock bottom,” said Mayor Weiers. “If they attend our Stand Up event, hopefully they’ll never need the services of a Stand Down event.”

The Military & Veteran Affairs Committee of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce is actively promoting the event. Credit Union West and other local businesses have committed in-kind and funding support for Glendale’s Stand Up for Veterans. Chapter 20 of the Disabled American Veterans Department will provide complimentary lunch to all veterans in attendance. Rolfs Salon has also supported the event by providing free haircuts to participants.

For more information or to become a community partner go to www.GlendaleStandUp.org.

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