Pahrump Valley veterans and their families will want to mark their calendars for this Friday, March 9 so as to not miss out on the 2nd Annual Veterans Extravaganza, set for 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. at the Bob Ruud Community Center at the corner of Highway 160 and Basin Avenue.
This carnival-style resource event is meant to foster a connectivity between the community and its veteran members, bringing the two together under one roof for a day of networking and interaction. A wide variety of services and resources will be available at the event, with dozens of organizations scheduled to participate in the hope of aiding all veterans with their many and varied needs.
“We are looking forward to another great year at the Veterans Extravaganza,” event organizer and local veteran Cles Saunders said in an interview. “Last year went well, it was really good. We had about 32 vendors at the event and about 150 attendees, 80 of which were veterans. This year we have even more vendors and we extended the time this year too. We only did it for four hours last year but this year we’ve added a couple of hours. It will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.”
What attendees can expect
For the 2018 event, approximately 35 vendors plan to be on hand during the Veterans Extravaganza. Saunders noted that a majority of participants are repeat vendors, showing those organizations had a good enough response last year to warrant attending once again.
The vendors will represent a huge assortment of organizations, all dedicated in one way or another to providing services, assistance and information that benefits veterans and their families.
For many veterans, obtaining the benefits they have earned through their service and sacrifice can be a difficult and stressful endeavor. However, there is help locally and veterans will have the chance to meet with those that can assist them in this complex arena.
Certified Veterans Service officers will be on hand at the event, including State Service Officer Brandi Matheny and Pahrump Service Officer Bob Hammond.
Local veterans organizations will be out in force, including the Disabled American Veterans Chapter #15. The DAV sponsors and runs a veterans resource booth inside Desert View Hospital, where volunteers help fellow veterans wade through the paperwork necessary to secure their benefits. DAV Commander Greg Cardarelli and DAV Adjutant Terry Janke will host the DAV booth.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #10054 is another veterans organization that will participate in Friday’s event. The VFW booth will be manned by well-known VFW Auxiliary member Linda Wright.
The Pahrump VA Clinic will have representation as well, with Michael Tracy, a Pact social worker, planning to attend. State and federal VA representatives will also be on hand, including David Martinez of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Charles Ramey of the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System.
NyE Communities Coalition workforce Director Tammi Odegard will have a booth set up, ready to discuss potential employment opportunities with former military members.
This year’s event will include more in-depth information on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well, something many veterans must deal with on a daily basis.
“Last year we didn’t really address PTSD the way we should have,” Saunders detailed. “I am looking forward to having people who can talk on that and give directions on what to do about PTSD. Hopefully, that will go well.”
Pahrump resident Tynia Dixon of Legal Shield and the Sassy Trainer is scheduled to be there to talk about employment opportunities as well as the concept of connecting service dogs with veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Also focusing on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will be Gayle Morgan, a mental health social worker. There will be information on PTSD itself as well as the treatment of PTSD at Morgan’s vendor booth.
These are just a few of the many organizations and resources that will be available Friday at the Veterans Extravaganza.
The flyer announcing the event to the community touts the Veterans Extravaganza as a product of Nevada Assemblyman James Oscarson’s Committee for Veterans Issues. Saunders explained Oscarson’s involvement, noting that he has been a consistent supporter of the veteran population throughout his time in office.
“James Oscarson wanted to do something for veterans, so we formed a committee last year,” Saunders stated. “Most of the members are from the DAV. We put this together to try to get information out there to the public. It went really well in 2017 and we are hoping to see it grow every year.”
As for Oscarson himself, he said all of the gratitude for the organization of the event goes to the veterans themselves. “They took the bull by the horns and had huge success, from what I understand, with all kinds of resources for veterans,” Oscarson said. “I think it is a wonderful thing for the veterans community and for their families as well. Absolutely anything that we can do for our veterans, any resources we can provide, we should do. I am all for that. Kudos to these guys for putting this together!”
For more information call Saunders at 775-513-6604.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes