Eleven men and women, both military veterans and those who serve them, were named to the newly created San Mateo County Veterans Commission today by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors which also expanded the panel’s size.

At this morning’s meeting, the Board increased the Commission from nine to 11 members in light of the number and quality of applicants to the panel. Ninety-six applications were received and 35 individuals interviewed by Supervisor Warren Slocum, a Vietnam veteran, Supervisor Don Horsley and Human Resources Director Donna Vaillancourt, who is also a military veteran. Of those appointed, six will serve three-year terms and five will serve two-year terms. Following, each term will be three years.

On June 2, 2015, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution establishing the first-ever San Mateo County Veterans Commission. Slocum, who spearheaded the creation, said he was honored and privileged to do so.

“As a Vietnam veteran, I know firsthand of the personal sacrifice, camaraderie and dedication to purpose that veterans share. I am proud to be counted in their ranks,” Slocum said. “With veterans representing all ages and branches of the Armed Services, the Veterans Commission will examine the needs, set the priorities and help the County do its part to take care of those who have taken care of us.”

Members with terms ending June 30, 2018 are:

·         Lisa King, of San Mateo, retired U.S. Army major with 23 years of service;

·         Edmund Bridges, of Redwood City, served four years in the U. S. Navy;

·         Mark Leach, of San Mateo, served six years in the U.S. Navy;

·         Paul “Hank” Scherf, of Menlo Park, retired U.S. Navy captain with 30 years of service;

·         Myra Weiher, of Redwood City, active in Veterans Treatment Court and provides pro bono legal work for veterans;

·         Kai Martin, of Pacifica, served 14 years in the U.S. Navy.

 

Members with terms ending June 30, 2017 are:

·         Sherry Corcoran, of Menlo Park, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Iraq War veterans with five years of service;

·         Ron Dickson, of Foster City, served five years in the U.S. Army;

·         Fred Baer, of Foster City, served two years in the U.S. Army;

·         Alfred Banfield, of South San Francisco, Vietnam veteran who served two years in the U.S. Army;

·         Francisco Oliva, of Redwood City, Vietnam veteran who served four years in the U.S. Air Force.

The Veterans Commission will identify unmet needs, work with existing advocacy and service organizations to coordinate systems of care and benefits and fulfill other duties as directed by the Board.  The creation of the commission addresses the County’s desire to increase access by veterans to critical services, especially underserved populations like senior and women veterans. The Commission will also be a platform for addressing housing and services for low-income and homeless veterans.

The commission will work with the Human Services Agency’s County Veterans Services Office that helps veterans with claims and referrals, manages the newly launched ID project, which gives veterans easy-to-carry proof of service and provides community outreach.

The Veterans Commission’s first meeting is Nov. 16, 2015.

To make an appointment with the County Veterans Services Office, call 650-802-6598 or email VeteranServices-SMC@smcgov.org.