Los Banos — Veterans who may need help dealing with post-traumatic stress, psychological issues or just need someone to talk to will have that opportunity next week when a veteran’s mobile van rolls through town.
The Modesto Vet Center, the American Legion Post 166 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2487 are bringing the van to Los Banos on Tuesday to offer services that aren’t readily available in the area.
“I’ve noticed for a little while that we have people coming from Los Banos to see us,” said Stephen Lawson, Modesto Vet Center team leader.
Lawson said he became eager to get a van to set up in Los Banos for a day.
The Modesto Vet Center treats combat veterans and active duty military personnel.
Although the center helps with a number of services, it has three major specialties: readjustment counseling; military sexual trauma and bereavement counseling.
The mobile van will provide as many services as possible and link veterans to other services that can not be taken care of immediately, Lawson said.
“It’s a very large RV that has been transformed,” he said. “It has two offices and a really high-tech system.”
The van has enough room for two offices along with state-of-the art equipment with access to the VA system and Modesto’s own system. “These vet centers are made to be really functional,” he said.
Lawson said similar vans are used for outreach at different types of events, including disaster situations like the recent shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas.
American Legion member Alan Cotta said he wants to do everything he could to help other veterans.
“Unfortunately, a lot of vets don’t come forward,” Cotta said. “Especially these guys coming back from war.”
Cotta said sometimes all a veteran needs is to talk to those with similar experiences.
“Sometimes they may not want to talk about it,” he said, “but sometimes it just takes a trained person to help them get through it.”
Lawson said the best place to start is at a veterans center similar to the mobile van and the Modesto Vet Center. “We help veterans make successful and satisfying readjustments from the military back into civilian life,” he said.
The mobile van will be at the Veterans Memorial Hall, on the corner of Sixth and E streets, at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Reporter Marina Gaytan can be reached at (209) 826-3831 ext. 6562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.