CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — One complaint veterans have with their benefits is not knowing where to start in order to get them.
Thursday, Nueces County hosts its first in-person Veterans Resource Fair since the start of the pandemic. Organizers are excited to welcome veterans back and connect them with a network of agencies looking to help.
“The veteran community is all about networking,” said Art Montiel with the Texas Veterans Network. “That's how we get our information out and that's what we're used to, networking as one giant family.”
That family can finally get back together.
It’s been nearly 17 months since the last Veterans Resource Fair, a one-stop shop for benefits.
“It's kind of like the mall,” said Nueces Co. Veterans Services Officer J.J. De La Cerda. “You go to the mall and hit every store you need to to get what you need, and that's what we're hoping to accomplish here.”
De La Cerda took over his office in late 2019. The pandemic hit soon after, forcing most events online instead of face-to-face.
“You can't do everything online, we know that,” said De La Cerda “You have to face-to-face interaction.”
“A lot of veterans go by word of mouth on their resources,” said Montiel. “Why not talk to the individuals who have the know-how and the subject matter experts who can answer their questions?”
So what kind of information will be available? Roughly 25 local, state, and federal agencies will be on hand.
“We've got homeless prevention, we've got education, we've got employment services, we've got social services coming out for financial services, we've got the food bank coming out,” said De La Cerda.
Just about anything any veteran would need, from the recently separated to those who served decades ago.
The fair runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday July 29 at Del Mar College’s Center for Economic Development (Room 106). For more information, call (361) 888-0820. It’s free to any veteran looking for information about benefits,.