Veterans and Military Outreach
Antonio Tido Peralez – Committeeman
I am proud to announce that we are starting a Veteran Outreach Veteran Affairs Volunteer Service (V.A.V.S.) program in the Texas State Council. By describing our existing program in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, I hope to motivate you to start such an outreach in your area.
Our brothers Knights in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston visit the V.A. hospital on Sundays morning to help the V.A. Chaplain visiting our Catholic veterans. The Chaplain provides the Knights with a list of Catholic veterans to be visited and this is what we do. We take them to the chapel if they are able to attend Mass. We assist them in viewing the Mass on the in-house channel if they cannot make it to the chapel. Our brothers Knights also have a chance to visit with our hero veterans as we share stories. We laugh with them and we cry with them. Most of all, we pray for them along with veterans of other faiths who are there asking for us to pray for them. We deny our faith outreach to no one.
Our Knights also go to veteran clinics, Texas State Veterans Homes, retirement homes, and residences. The idea is that these heroes sacrificed so much for us to be free that visiting with them is the least we can do for them.
Your V.A. Hospital has veterans of all ages coming from all over the United States for treatment. The majority of these veterans are lonely, and they have no one except for the medical staff to be with them.
These veterans are eager to be visited by the Knights of Columbus. They smile when they see our council brothers coming inside the door. We bring our wives, sons, daughters, (13 years of age or older) and friends. Some councils bring get well cards, Easter cards from neighboring elementary schools, and Christmas cards with them. We try to personalize the cards by writing the veteran’s name on the card obtained from the visitation list provided by the Chaplain.
The Outreach Program starts with you. Join with our hero men and women, first responders, EMS, police, and fire fighters by going out and visiting with the veterans. Only you can make the difference in their life – and yours - by doing your part.
Why is Veterans Outreach so important? Consider these statistics:
Currently we have 320 active Catholic Chaplains nation-wide
Out of the 320 Chaplains we have the following:
Less than 100 Chaplains on full time duty
Less than 50 Chaplains on part time duty
The remaining 170 are on contract or fee basis
To find the local VA Medical Facility in your area, simply Google (Texas – Locations – US Department of Veterans Affairs) which will list hospitals and medical facilities.
To aid in your local effort, please make use of this list of contacts throughout the State to get started:
Veterans Health Administration Chaplain Offices
Big Spring, 432-263-7361
El Paso, 915-564-6100
San Antonio, 210-617-5300
Remember that we represent Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism
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