Frustrated by the VA’s failure to provide ample community based veterans support ~ Blue star mother, Josie Monaghan, has taken the bull by the horns and with the help of a band of committed local citizens has created a heart centered East County veteran’s drop in center, in Northern California, to provide needed recreation as well as emotional support and counseling to our returning veterans
Fed up with the VA’s in the box fixed thinking and bureaucratic inertia, as well as the rising rate of Veterans suicide ~ about 20 members of the East County Military Family and Friends ( ECMFF ) along with about 250 supporters ~ all drawn together by heart centered chords of love, pride and compassion ~ created in 2010 a new alternative for returning veterans and their families with the ultimate goal of a drop-in recreation center where workshops and peer to peer events could take place at any time.
Originally located in a small veterans thrift shop in downtown Antioch, California the rapidly growing non-profit organization now includes an adjacent veterans antique store as well as a recently leased veterans recreation center ~ which will provide a space for workshops and informal peer to peer events with the full support of the Antioch city council.
The guiding light or Vet blue star angel mother behind this working dream is Josie Monaghan ~ whose vision, relentless energy and giant heart has drawn others, such as myself, to volunteer their services to help make her East County Veterans heart centered dream come true.
According to Josie, her dream is still a work in progress. As each day passes, the old thrift store becomes more like a home where miracles materialize. “It’s working,” Monaghan says, “I feel if it is something you’re called to do, the path will be easier for you because you’re committing to where you’re supposed to be.”
Monaghan is trying to obtain grants to hire a staff and possibly a counselor for the peer-resource center. During summer, local members of Kiwanis and the Los Medanos College Key Club have volunteered to fill the void.
“It’s really great volunteering here,” said 15-year-old Luigi Galvan. “I love the atmosphere, and of course it all goes to a good cause.”
Monaghan said she needs volunteers at her store, and people to donate money, goods and host fundraising events. Her job isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. For Monahan, that’s all that matters: “After sending a child or loved one off to war ~ and they come back ~ there aren’t that many things that are more important.”
Blue star mother Josie is living her dream and making a difference for returning Veterans ~ and her theme of P=I=C=S Participation=Involvement=Commitment=Support continues to weave its magic as myself and many others are drawn to participate and become involved in this unique and much needed community based East County Veterans resource center ~ which serves veterans in Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood.
Josie Monaghan is the living evidence of the power and magic of commitment ~ as famously expressed in this quote from Goethe ; ” Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back ~ Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
East County Veterans Thrift and antique Store is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 925-206-4113 or email www.eastcountyveterans.org
“Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind. Did you think you were put here for something less?” Chief Arvol Looking Horse
About the Author: Allen L Roland is a Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist. He is also a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his web site at AllenRoland.com. He also guest hosts a Truthtalk, a national radio show that airs monthly. He is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations via email at [email protected].