Leadership Southeast Texas has announced the 53 members of the 2016 class and there are six local community leaders on the Orange County Team number 1.  This group has been tasked with selecting a community service project in their area and has chosen support of the Veterans Advocacates of America in Vidor as their project. 

The Veterans Advocates for America (VAA) operates out of The First United Pentecostal Church in Vidor with the pastor, Brother Bruce Lockett acting as the director.  The VAA is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization that assists veterans in appeals and filings for their VA benefits as well as interceding with the VA on medical issues.  The VAA gets approximately 50 new cases per month and at any one time can have as many as 2,000 active cases.  These are free services that the VAA provides are free.

The LSET projects primary objective is to help the VAA complete a 650 square foot office expansion that is now under construction.  This office space will provide room for additional volunteers, expanded services to veterans and offer a more welcoming environment to their clients.   Currently the slab is in place and the rough frame in is done.  The project goal is to help get the building dried in with electrical service by December. The secondary goal is to help finish the interior of the addition by adding drywall, HVAC, paint and furnishing the office with desks, chairs, filling cabinets and miscellaneous office equipment. 

There are many success stories that come out of the VAA.  Some of Brother Lockett’s most gratifying cases are when he has been able to get Vets an increase in their monthly benefits and in many cases receive lump sum payments of back benefits.  He describes the overwhelming response from a Vet and his wife who live on $1200 per month when they get an increase in their benefits to $4100 per month as life changing. 

The VAA also provides meals, wheelchairs, crutches, clothing and any other donated supplies to the Veterans free of charge.  All workers are volunteers and all their office equipment has been donated with the exception of their copier.

The LSET Orange County Team #1 consists of: Barry Burton – Orange County Commissioner, Pct. 2, Kristen Coyle – Comptroller for Gerdau, Lydia Gonzales – Bridge City Jr. High Principal, Beverly Satir – Owner of It’s All About The Mouse Travel Agency, Janet Schepcoff – Plant Manager DuPont SRW, and Jerry Vandervoort – Project Executive, SpawGlas Construction.

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BARRY M. BURTON, COMMISSIONER, PCT.2

The LSET group said they chose this project because they feel that our Veterans are an underserved segment of society.  Many have given so much and this group welcomes an opportunity to give back to those that have sacrificed in the service or our country.  The Orange County group encourages those that feel the same way to make any type of contribution they can to help complete this worthwhile project.  You can help change lives they said.

A list of needed materials and supplies can be found on the groups Facebook page: Veterans Advocates of America – Orange County, Texas.  The LSET group has also helped the VAA establish a “Go Fund Me” page for donations.  All monetary donations will go directly to the VAA for construction and furnishings.  To make a monetary donation go to the Facebook page to find the GoFundMe link.