Veterans Day Campaign
In 2019, I took over as the Service Officer for AL Post 291. My name is Cory Vigil, and I am an Operation Iraqi Freedom Navy veteran. I work full-time as a lead peer navigator serving veterans/military families with a program called “Strong Families, Strong Children.” You might ask, “Why take on the Service Officer responsibilities?”, I certainly do not need more to do each day. My passion is to help any of my fellow brothers and sisters who served and also the members of The American Legion.
Since my discharge, I have worked in the community learning the process and trends and I too have specifically dealt with a hard transition. I understand what veterans deal with on daily basis and how care providers respond to veterans needs.
The American Legion in Newport Beach is the largest Post in Southern California. With over 4000 Legionnaires, the Post is very visible in Orange County and has become an important resource for veterans and military families looking for financial assistance. AL291 started the Veteran Emergency Assistance Fund (VEAF) to help all Orange County veterans. The VEAF has become the most flexible and fastest responding tool to veterans in a crisis. I have personally seen how important the American Legion has become to the veteran community.
Today the need is great as veterans continue to struggle Post COVID-19 while managing disrupted incomes, depleting savings, and increased inflation. Gas continues to be expensive and senior veterans are one emergency from being at risk of many consequences. Student veterans continue to struggle with housing and live in their vehicles as their educational benefits count against their income when applying for low-income housing. Veterans of all ages are calling and asking for help.
The VEAF (Veteran Emergency Assistance Fund) at AL291 is designed to provide financial emergency support to all veterans in Orange County regardless of age. We hear from older veterans on fixed incomes as well as mid-career veterans suddenly facing a layoff or huge financial problem and also young veterans, often as students at a local college or in families with children. We hear from disabled veterans trying to live in Orange County on VA disability benefits or social security and spouses of recently deceased veterans looking for help negotiating VA benefits. The American Legion has become the call of last resort. In this area because of the size of AL291, other service providers send veterans to us with problems that they cannot address. Unlike many state and federal programs that restrict certain support, the VEAF is flexible and can help with all types of financial issues such as a motel room for a homeless veteran family, auto repairs, utilities, and burial support. The VEAF has become a lifeline thanks to your generous support.
In 2022 so far, our monthly distributions have grown to $7,500 per month and we expect that to increase as inflation continues to grow. Please consider a donation this Veterans Day to the VEAF Veterans Day Campaign and allow AL291 to continue this essential mission. Make your donation by credit card or check. Make it a monthly donation or honor a veteran by name with a donation. Every dollar donated to the VEAF will be used exclusively for our local veterans and will not be used for any other purpose. VETERAN EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FUND (VEAF) – American Legion 291 (al291.com)
We are grateful for your support,
U.S. Navy, Operation Iraqi Freedom
The American Legion Post 291 Service Officer