January 9, 2019

Coffee4Vets welcomes ‘Cujo’

Col. Ryan “Cujo” Blake, commander of the Test Pilot School at Edwards, was at Crazy Otto’s in Lancaster on Jan. 8 for Coffee4Vets, a weekly get together hosted by the restaurant.

Air Force Col. Ryan “Cujo” Blake visited with veterans from all branches, all eras of service at Coffee4vets on Jan. 8.

Blake is commander of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base.

As commander, his task is to graduate two dozen of America’s finest; some will be astronauts; and most will be extending the edge of the flight test envelope.

Every aircraft in the Air Force inventory passes through Edwards, flown by TPS graduates.

How did Blake get awarded “Cujo” as call sign? Peers decide the call sign, and his aviation comrades must have thought his flying reminded them of the monster dog in Stephen King’s novel. Check Your Six!

Col. Ryan “Cujo” Blake takes time to talk to our own Dennis Anderson.

In other news:
* Vets4veterans President Tom Hilzendeger, recovering from serious health challenge, advised on Jan. 27 Community Support Dinner at Hellenic Center to raise funds for nonprofit. Vets4veterans has dispensed $17,000 in Emergency Aid for veterans-at risk of homelessness.

* Representatives from Mental Health America and its Military Resource Center advised of aid available for veterans at risk of homelessness. See www.mhala.org Operation Healthy Homecoming.

* Ronnie Baker, Disabled American Veterans advocate warned about Washington proposals to take disability employment pay away from disabled veterans above age 67. Baker urged veterans to write their elected representatives.

* In elected representatives developments, Andrea Rosenthal, Deputy District Director for 25th District Rep. Katie Hill, assured veterans that the District Office will be up and running soon on 10th Street West at Avenue M-14, with staff ready to work on behalf of veterans.

Juan Blanco, Johnathon Ervin, Col. Ryan Blake and Andrea Rosenthal were on hand for the Jan. 8 Coffee4Vets at Crazy Otto’s Diner on Avenue I.

* Representatives for Assemblyman Tom Lackey, state Sen. Scott Wilk and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger Leibrich made themselves available to assist in veterans benefits issues.

* VA Outreach representative Eddie Edward C. Benford III announced his return to work, to work on behalf of ensuring those who served have proper benefit ratings.

Nearly 100 veterans turned out for Tuesday’s gathering at Crazy Otto’s Diner on Avenue I, which happens rom 7-9 a.m., every Tuesday. Coffee is provided free by owner and Marine Dad Jin Hur, and there’s a 50 percent discount on menu items.

“You have a lot going on here,” Blake said. “A lot more than just drinking coffee.”

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