Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Endorses the Proposed “Skagit Vets Connect Center” with Community Action

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Skagit County, WA – Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, along with five local Veteran’s organizations, have endorsed the proposed “Skagit Vets Connect Center” with Community Action.

Robert Gates served as the Secretary of Defense for nearly five years, working with both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. In his letter of endorsement, he said:

“During my time as Secretary of Defense, my focus was on meeting the needs of the troops on the battlefield as quickly as possible. I never could have imagined that I would be responsible for overseeing two wars and for the well-being of those fighting them. It wasn’t long before I had signed the orders deploying every single person in an American uniform to Iraq and Afghanistan.

For those who fought, for the wounded and their families, for the families of the fallen, these wars will continue for the rest of their lives. We must never forget what they did and what they sacrificed.

Now that these veterans have returned home, we all have a responsibility to ensure they are cared about and cared for. And that is why I believe the “Vets Connect Center” is so important here in Skagit County – a place where our veterans can learn about and gain access to the benefits they have earned and community-provided services they need, such as housing, food, clothing, and counseling.

This one percent of the American people protected and defended us. Now it is our turn – our obligation – to take care of them.”

The new services center also has the endorsement of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 1109, American Legion George Baldridge Post 43, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 11-5, The American Legion Memorial Post 0091, and the Disabled American Veterans Skagit Valley Chapter 59, all from Skagit County.  The Skagit Vets Connect center will be able to add more in- depth services including space for service partners that can provide behavioral health services for veterans.

In response to the growing needs of our community, Community Action needs to raise $2.7 million by March 2018 to purchase the existing building at 160 Cascade Place in Burlington.  Community Action’s mission is to foster and advocate for self-sufficiency among low-income people in Skagit County. Now in its third decade of service to our community, Community Action groups their circle of support into eight areas: Family Stability, Housing Support and Homeless Prevention, Financial Stability, Employability, Education and Literacy, Healthy Community, Food and Nutrition, and Community Engagement.

For more information on the new facility, contact Joan Penney at 360-588-5720 or joanp@communityactionskagit.org.  For more information on veterans services contact Lynn Christofersen at 360-588-5748 or LynnC@communityactionskagit.org. Also visit their website at www.communityactionskagit.org

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