CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There's a place local veterans can go every week to find out what's going on in Corpus Christi and Nueces County. It's also a great place to learn about the programs available to them.
It’s the Corpus Christi Veterans Roundtable, and it exists to help veterans get the information they need. It's also a chance for these men and women with a common bond to spend a couple hours a week together.
“When I got out of the service and I was a veteran, things were much different,” said organizer and Korean War veteran Dotson Lewis. “You had to really go search for things.”
These days, Lewis' mission is to make that search as simple as possible. So out of humble beginnings, the roundtable was born. Nearly a decade later, it's become a one-stop-shop for veterans to get questions answered.
“They know they can come if they have a problem with a GI loan,” Lewis said. “Or it's getting a high school diploma, what do I do? I need my DD214, how do I get it?”
“I like the information I get here,” said roundtable regular Isidro Vega.
Vega has attended the roundtable for three years. He comes for the local politicians who regularly visit. For Vega, it's a chance at access he wouldn't normally have.
“We can ask them questions directly,” Vega said. “It's hard to contact them otherwise.”
“It's nice to see them come in,” Lewis said of the politicians, who include city council members, county commissioners, and state representatives. “People ask them questions; they get them answered.”
However, that opportunity wouldn't be possible without Del Mar College.
“Del Mar College and community colleges, junior colleges were built and expanded their curriculum based on the veterans coming out of World War II,” said college president Mark Escamilla.
Del Mar provides the meeting room at its Center for Economic Development on Staples St. Escamilla says he wanted to make veterans feel appreciated after all they've done for their country.
“Certainly our veterans, who have given so much of their own lives, personally and professionally, deserve this level of support,” Escamilla said.
The roundtable meets every Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. Very soon it moves into a much larger room at the Center for Economic Development, one that's been recently updated with all the technology they'll need.
More Veterans In Focus stories are available here, along with resources for local veterans.