Many veterans in Shasta County have been impacted by the Carr Fire
REDDING, Calif. —
Many veterans in Shasta County have been impacted by the Carr Fire. In fact, hundreds of veterans with low income have either lost their home or were displaced because of the fire, according to Redding's Veterans Resource Center Regional Manager, Brad Long.
"We have the attitude [where] it doesn't make a difference if you're a veteran or not in this crisis, we're all here, part of the Shasta County community," said Long.
Lond said during the fire, the resource center participated inside the FEMA relief center to take a survey on how many veterans were affected by the fire.
"We started to get a count of how many veterans we are looking at and at that point, we didn't have a really good idea of how many veterans were displaced or how many total people even were displaced. Now, the number is about 2,400 roughly, for the people who either lost their homes or have homes that are damaged," said Long.
Long explained many homes that were damaged or lost had more than one veteran living in it and out of the 2,400, they were able to identify 200 veterans with low income who have lost their home or displaced.
The Veterans Resource Center along with the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Redding said they've helped many and continue to help veterans affected by the fire.
"They've been impacted greatly, some have lost everything," said Commander of V.F.W Post of 1930, Rick Ortega. "The V.F.W from the state gave us nearly $5,000, actually now it's $5,500. So we distributed that and basically in $300 increments to those that were affected by the Carr Fire. Now, in my understanding, they have another $25,000 forthcoming."
"We already have funding for homeless veterans so we've been helping veterans get access to that funding and finding what units are still available in our area and get help to pay for them, to get in," said Long.
Long said they helped Carr Fire victims, whether they are veterans or not, however, pointed out veterans who have PTSD could be suffering from the fire.
"Chaos in general, emergency vehicles [things] that break up of the standard schedule for veterans who might have PTSD is a trigger it causes them to regress," said Long.
And Ortega said he was touched by the reaction of some veterans, with insurance.
"The one thing that's funny about veterans, some of the older veterans that had insurance [say] 'I don't need the money.' 'Well, you're entitled to it.' 'No, someone needs it more than me.' And they refuse it. But you know that goes along with understanding the sacrifice, you don't learn [that] any place else. 'Someone else needs more help than me, give it to them. I'm doing okay.' 'We've come across that a lot so that sticks with me," Ortega said.