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Sunday, January 25, 2009 08:23 | Luis Keys

I incendentally 'stumbled' across SVBRC through Interfaith Community Service Center in Oceanside by virtue of reintergration because of a bad experience I had encountered with the government as a civil service employee. As I explained my situation to Rob Heinlein of ICS, he gave me hope by giving a copy of Albert Renteria's business card and telling me to call him because it would be a good resource for me. 

Even though the 'rug had been pulled from underneath me' as I explained to Albert it was his attentiveness that compelled me to open & share certain aspects of my life with him, especially with regards to being a veteran. Albert seemed very sincere & inquisitive, which had me feel comfortable enough to 'vent' my frustations with ease.

I felt & still feel very disapointed with parts of the VA system in which "help" is not always available when one needs it. This ranges from psychological & emotional support to food assistance as well. I find that there are very few, if any, geniune organizations (that also includes churches & 'foundations') which pride themselves on their establishment in "supporting" veterans, but with very little to offer in terms of direct assistance.

Sometimes veterans are ignored and even dismissed altogether in their greatest moment of need for various reasons or excuses, which is sad commentary on this society as a whole. After serving our country and some of us risking our lives all in the name of "freedom" it's no wonder more help is not available, but that goes without saying because it is matter of showing us that they care rather then just telling us with very little evidence to support their claim.

However, I am thankful that those establishments, such as ICS & SVBRC, have shown their support and taken action in providing assistance with what resources have been available or at least pointed me in the direction by which I am able to connect with others for help.

I appreciate Albert Renteria and all the learner's availibilty in which has made a positive impact thus far in my life. I hope that this organization will continue to grow & expand in a way that it will reach the entire U.S. and that it thrives in manner that will be able to directly give in a means in which can effectively contribute to the immediate needs of the veteran.


  • Sunday, January 25, 2009 08:43 | Eleanor Tobias
    Luis, you have finally found the right place to fill your needs! It's too bad you had to have so many disappointments before finding Al and the SWVBRC, but now that you have you will experience all the encouragement and positive thinking that is needed for you to accomplish what you desire for your future. I wish you success in all your endeavors. Blessings!
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  • Sunday, January 25, 2009 19:09 | Chris Thayer
    Hello Luis,
    I have been keeping you in my prayers hoping you and others would find your way to SWVBRC. I didn’t come from a military background but I knew that I wanted to show my support for our veterans. It is people like you Luis that will help all of us learn what needs to be done to make things better for veterans. I didn’t know until last year when Albert Renteria sent out a newsletter starting SWVBRC, that 25% of the people that are homeless are veterans. I was shocked. I thought how can this be? Your blog reinforces that there are problems the VA is not handling well and we need to create public awareness and change. I feel all of our voices working together can create positive changes.

    Thank you for your level of honesty in your sharing. Please continue to be forthright and help all of us in the community learn more about the veteran's needs for reintegration so we can be an active part of the solutions. Your sharing online is part of that solution as it reaches many. Thank you again Luis. I believe in you and I look forward to your next post. God Bless, Chris

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  • Sunday, January 25, 2009 19:31 | Samuel Luna
    Mr. Keys,i'm glad you posted your thouhts on your blog,hope to hear more of your story.It was a pleasure to have met you at the center.I wish you the best of luck in everything ahead of your future.Remember to always share from the heart, great start.See you at the center soon.
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  • Monday, January 26, 2009 04:11 | Lyndon Dellis
    Luis, Just wanted to let you know how glad I am that you have made your 1st post. I also have had some of the same problems with the "system" that you have and so I dont feel so alone anymore. Anyway, just wanted to encourage you to keep going and let you know there are other vets out here who are in your corner and want to help you succeed! Keep up the good work and God bless.
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  • Monday, January 26, 2009 06:16 | Christopher Bush
    Luis, I know the hardships you go through day to day are not easy to handle. I also know that despite these sometimes atrocious situations you are dealt, you will never fold. Giving up is just not in your character. Since I've met you and the short time I've known you, I have grown to look to you for strength and console. I know we are suffering now and unfortunately money does not grow on trees but you are now planting the seeds to prosper later. I encourage you to continue to carry yourself with the pride and honor you've earned. You are an untapped resource of life skills and spiritual wealth, you have much to contribute. I hope nothing but good things come your way brother.
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  • Tuesday, January 27, 2009 11:03 | Daniel Boothe
    Luis, the neglect and dismissal of veterans today is more disheartening than I even have words for. We probably would have never met in society, but have come together on this common ground and will succeed for each others sake if we work together. I look forward to working with you and want to support and encourage you in anyway that I can.
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  • Wednesday, January 28, 2009 07:28 | LeRoy Scheller Jr
    Luis, it is interesting to hear about your experiences with the VA and it points out the need to modify how the VA is operating to serve our veterans. It is up to veterans such as you , working with organzations as SWVBRC, to refocus the efforts of the VA so it meets the real requirements of our veterans.SWVBRC can not do it alone but with your help changes will be made. Continue telling all your story, both good and bad.
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  • Thursday, January 29, 2009 15:56 | Jeffrey Backus
    Luis, Please use your "rug incident" as a learning opportunity. Your experiences and willingness to move on can be an added benefit to the group as a whole. Thank you for your service to our great country.
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  • Tuesday, February 03, 2009 15:47 | Wes Koehler
    Tuesday, Feb. 3rd, 2036 hrs. Luis: Great writing. You are so correct in finding that most organizations are NOT "genuine" when it comes to the veteran in need. They are in fact disingenuous but will spend large sums of money to cover up this fact and put on a fake "feel good" smile while turning a veteran away. I'm glad you found our Fallbrook Veterans' Center and the help that Al can provide. I look forward to reading the rest of your story. See you soon at the Fallbrook center. WES
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  • Friday, February 13, 2009 09:08 | Laurel Ho
    I look forward to hearing more about your life experience and what you expect to come away with once completing the program. I hope knowing that there are people out here who really care and support you will get you through, and on to better times. I was really taken back by all the comments posted here as to the treatment of our Vet's. I guess I have been living in a bubble, because I really thought things were getting better. Look forward to hearing about your progress. Blessings, Laurel
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  • Saturday, February 28, 2009 07:10 | Bea Duque Long
    Luis, I think you're going to like it at the center. Al really, truly cares about vets. This is why I was drawn to Al and his work. I am not a vet, but my brother is, and I share in your frustration with the VA and other veteran serving organizations. I see him deal with the challenges, and know that it's nothing for those less fortunate than him, without a supportive family network, and cringe. As a civilian who cared very much about veterans, I am dismayed at the lack of support for vets. But, then you find someone like Al, who wants to empower vets to help other vets, and faith in the world is restored :) Empowered vets are the key to changing the tide.
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  • Saturday, February 28, 2009 15:31 | Richard Cloonan
    Luis, Life is not always fair but you are now in an organization (SWVBRC) that cares as we all work together to support our veterans.
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  • Sunday, March 01, 2009 23:30 | Darlena Wills
    I'm captivated by your blog and your circumstances. The VA is broken and has been for since the Viet Nam era. It really IS up to the communities to help veterans and I think it's just that they don't recognize the need. And honestly, warriors, in general, aren't necessarily vocal about needing help. I'm encouraged that a new traumatic brain injury center is under construction as is a the new amputee center in San Antonio. I wish more could be done for PTSD, because it's real. I don't know what was your "bad experience," but I hope you find what you need with SVBRC and it's volunteers in Fallbrook. Keep writing, sometimes it helps to pour the bitterness on paper and leave it. Then it's on to the next chapter.
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  • Thursday, April 14, 2011 15:58 | KEANEA WYLIE
    I am very happy to see that this organization is expanding. I am the daughter of a veteran who has actually been very well cared for. I beleive that our vets should have 1st class service for every need, education,health,finances,and family as well as every other need that can be concieved. Most of all emotional and spiritual. I have read your blog and the comments. It is very disappointing to know that our vets dont always get everything plus more of what they need and even what they deserve...but you should know that there are so many people who are greatful, and who honor and have the utmost respect for the military service people. I understand where you are coming from. People always have a way of disappointing one another. Just be encouraged and be positive Luis. I met you a few years ago at Scripps, I was the girl that worked in the laboratory. My name is Keanea Wylie. I am still there and things are going well for me now. You gave me words of encouragement and you ministered to me about GOD. You have helped people and you have no idea the seeds of hope and encouragement that you have planted. GOD BLESS you Luis. Thank you so much.
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    • Thursday, April 14, 2011 18:34 | Albert Renteria (Administrator)
      Keanea, your words to Luis have inspired me and fuels me in such a way you may never know. God Bless and thank your Parents for their service to a great nation. We all have so much awareness to raise and we can't succeed without you.
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DOD Welcome home-small.jpg A welcoming home for our Troops.

Welcoming home our men and women doesn't end after the crowd disperses, it MUST continue on for the life of the Veteran! They've served us, now we will serve them with programs that work so they reintegrate into society.

We are a national public benefit nonprofit organization that educates American Communities about best practices to serve Veterans.  We honor their service by empowering Veterans to apply their training and skills to successfully transition to productive careers and enterprises.

We provide free vocational training 24/7 to all of our members through our website, in addition to local events.  We believe the tenet that American Communities are the ultimate beneficiaries when Veterans claim their benefits and invest in productive endeavors.

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