Veterans help other veterans at local workshop

EL CENTRO, Calif. – A veteran workshop helps former military members get the assistance they need.

He’s on a mission, says Army veteran Ernie Mariscal of Imperial Valley, to help other veterans.

“Today what we’re going to do is let local veterans know about the benefits they earned while they served their country,” Mariscal said.

He’s one of the organizers of today’s veterans workshop held at the Ricochet Center in El Centro.

“Some of these guys need help and this is the main thing that we’re here for,” Mariscal said.

He says a major need of veterans is information on benefits they’re entitled to.

“Not knowing the programs they have or that’s offered for them and they get lost, and they feel like nobody’s taking care of them, and nobody cares about them anymore,” Mariscal said.

Mariscal says he speaks from experience.

“I was one of those frustrated guys complaining about the services, but yet, I really didn’t know about them – I didn’t know what was there for me,” Mariscal said.

Veteran’s Administration representatives were present.

“They can input into their system right now and then get an appointment for later,” Mariscal said.

Military Resource Officer Kevin Rogers was there to prevent veteran homelessness.

“We educate how to own their VA home entitlement, giving them the ability to purchase a home and explain exactly what the steps are to purchase a home,” Rogers said.

Ricochet Center Manager Tori Rollins says they welcome veteran workshops because they firmly believe in giving back to them.

“We were very excited to be able to help in any way possible. Obviously our veterans have served our country, this is a really small way that we can kind of give back and let them know we appreciate it,” Rollins said.

Mariscal says veteran workshops won’t answer every question or need, but they can point others in the right direction.

“Veterans helping veterans,” Mariscal concluded.

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