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Yakima veterans helping veterans

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YAKIMA, WA - Veterans' Day is coming up, and the Yakima County Veterans Program is celebrating with a brand new facility.

The staff at the facility is comprised of employees and volunteers alike, many of whom are veterans themselves, who work to connect with other vets and help them gain access to the help they need.

The county program assists local veterans in all walks of life through partnerships with the Veterans Relief Fund and the Yakima County Community Foundation to give veterans access to food, transportation, housing, and medical assistance.

David Brown, coordinator of the program, says this time of year tends to cause many vets to reach out.

"This time of year is a hard time of year for those veterans who are facing those types of challenges," says Brown. "We still have issues with veterans who are homeless, and unemployment, and just, the winter time seems to bring out the hard times for folks."

Being a veteran himself, Brown says his background makes it possible to better relate to those veterans seeking answers or looking for help.

"We have a certain amount of rapport, that you have just because you're a veteran," he says. "You know, all veterans who've served...not everybody has gone to combat, but there's those that have, and they've given that sacrifice, but they've all sacrificed something to their country."

Andre Martirossian, an army veteran and work-study employee at the program, says he is studying to become a psychologist and wants to use his degree to continue dedicating his time to helping others.

"I wanna use it to give back, so I'm either gonna get involved with soldiers and families with PTSD, or I'd like to get more into the education side of psychology and work with schools in improving and developing their programs for special needs and that sort of thing," Martirossian explains.

Martirossian says for now, he feels he is doing his part to reach out to local veterans.

"For the most part, veterans are doing great...we're doing great. But, at the same time, though, there's a lot of resources that veterans don't know about, but programs like this are really helping to extend and let people know that there is help out there if you need help."

For more information on connecting with the Yakima County Veterans Program, you can head to www.yakimacounty.us or call 509-574-1528.