We’re kicking off our journey to learn 101 ways to live well every day, by learning all about how the military and the veterans in San Diego County can get help and resources for themselves and their families. This was a really new topic for me, so I had to make sure that I asked some friends all about veteran and military services… between you and me, I wasn’t even sure what a veteran was!
Live Well Tip # 18 Talk to a Military Veteran
County of San Diego Veterans and Military Resource Center
But that’s okay! My first stop of the episode was to see Mr. Wilfred Quintong, who is the Director of the County of San Diego Office of Military and Veterans Affairs. (Say that 5 times fast!) We met at the Live Well Center in Escondido to visit the Military and Veterans Resource Center.
The Live Well Center actually is home to several different County resources for families to get help for medical insurance stuff, food stuff, and even some money stuff. Inside there is also a bunch of stuff for the military and veterans.
The resource center has a lot of different organizations, dedicated to supporting veterans and their families, with spaces right there in the building. That means if someone needs help, they can get it without having to run all over the place.
They also offer classes and training at the facility to help people in the military find other kinds of jobs when they are ready to get out.
If you would like to learn more about the Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, visit www.sandiegocounty.org for more information.Learn More
2-1-1 Connections Center
Do you know what 2-1-1 is? Well don’t feel bad, neither did I… but let me tell you… it’s awesome! I met with Mr. Bill York, the Executive Vice President of 2-1-1 San Diego. He taught me that you can dial 2-1-1 from your phone. On the other line will be a super helpful person that can help you find what you’re looking for! There’s so much information about 2-1-1, that there’s no way for us to cover it all in one episode. But one of the greatest things they have is a program called “Courage to Call.”
Live Well Tip # 8 Contact Courage to Call to connect with Veterans Services
Courage to Call is a place where veterans can call to get help finding resources for themselves or their families. And no one knows more about the ways that veterans need help because they are all veterans too! Mr. Steve Alt, who is a veteran, told me that Courage to Call gets about 700 calls per month. Whenever the Courage to Call team helps a veteran get the services that they need, they ring a big bell to let everyone in the office know they helped someone. They let me ring the bell too!
Everyone is so friendly and cares so much about what they are doing, I can tell why they help so many people.
Mr. John Ohanian, the president and CEO of 2-1-1 San Diego, sat with me at the end of the day and we talked about all of the important work that 2-1-1 is doing for San Diego. They help almost 500,000 people every year.
Everyone should check out all of the services that 2-1-1 San Diego has; there’s definitely something for everyone.Learn More
Here are some other cool things I learned about the military and veterans in San Diego:
- San Diego is home to the nation’s largest concentration of military personnel.
- There are more than 100,000 active duty service members in San Diego.
- They are split pretty evenly between the Navy and Marines, mostly in 7 military bases.
- Every year, Veterans Day gives us the chance to think about the men and women who wear or have worn a uniform – They serve and protect us.
- California has the largest concentration of military and their families—more than any other state.
- San Diego County is estimated to have the third largest number of veteran residents of any County in the nation.
- San Diego is home to 60% of the ships in the fleet of the U.S. Navy, and 1/3 of the active duty.
- If you add up all the veterans and their family members, and all the active duty service members and their family members, it equals 1.2 million people or 39% of San Diego County’s entire population!