BARSTOW, Calif. — Ten thousand Southern California residents came together at a rally held on Memorial Day in hopes to save the Barstow Veterans Home.
Last month, a devastating blow came with a letter sent to employees from the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs announcing plans toclose the facility, which houses 176 veterans. Leaders say it is because of themassive budget shortfall the state is now facing.
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced a projected $54 billion deficit in the state’s budget. He said defunding the Veterans Home would save the state an additional 14 million dollars annually.
“I came here to be close to my family,” said veteran Charles Frye. “I don’t know what will happen to me if it closes.”
Fourteen World War II Veterans, 34 Korean Veterans, 70 Vietnam Veterans, and 4 Persian Gulf War Veterans, along with many peace time veteranscall this five-star facility home.
“This is an amazing show of support,” Frye Said. “It makes me proud that there are so many people who care about our home.”
If the Veterans Home closes, the residents will be dispersed to other convalescent and veterans homes across the country.
Jamie Rodrigues is an employee and said that the California budget committee has temporarily rejected the closure, for now, and is giving CalVet the next year to come up with a closure plan.