Glenwood Springs veteran resource center increases hours, appoints new board members
The Western Slope Veterans Coalition is increasing the hours of operations at its Glenwood Springs center in hopes of serving a wider demographic of military veterans throughout the valley.
A nonprofit veteran resource, the Jesse Beckius/Casey Owens Resource Center is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays to veterans, their families, caregivers and families of fallen veterans.
Through football season, however, the coalition will now open every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. And on Fridays, the center could be open from 5-8 p.m. to veterans interested in playing pool at the center, located at 801 Colorado Ave.
“This is a place for veterans to feel like their own,” said John Pettit, the center’s co-founder. “By opening the facility during these new times, we’d like to serve our vets in more of a community capacity.”
Following the suicides of two local U.S. Marine Corps combat veterans — Cpl. Jesse Beckius and Cpl. Casey Owens — Pettit said the center was founded in 2017 as a place for vets not only to have access to the resources they need but also to have a place to clear their heads when needed.
“No more veteran suicides in our valley, that’s our goal,” he said. “We wanted to create a place where veterans could experience camaraderie with their fellow veterans.”
In 2020, volunteers helped expand the center to include a library, conference room, computer lab, ham radio station and multi-purpose room with den-style seating, a big screen TV and workout equipment.
Aide Munoz, the center’s office manager, said several veterans expressed a desire to see the center expand its hours.
“We’re available over the phone throughout the day, but it’s not the same having time with someone face-to-face,” Munoz said.
Though the center’s new hours facilitate recreational opportunities, Pettit said most of the coalition’s work is focused on connecting veterans with resources, such as attorney services, psychiatric care, veteran service officers and emergency funding.
“We’ve provided veterans with emergency funding for everything from steel-toed shoes to buying a car,” he said, adding the center does not hand out cash. “This can also be a network hub for employment opportunities and education.”
Munoz said the center handles student finances for veterans attending Colorado Mountain College and can connect veterans with other financial services when the need arises.
In August, the coalition appointed a new president, Jeremie Oates, to its board of directors as well as appointed new board members, including Cpl. Jesse Beckius’ father, John Beckius.
“I’ve been involved from early on, because I truly believe that if Jesse had access to something like this, he might still be here,” John Beckius said. “Being on the board is my way of giving back. I’m a vet, but I can also provide the perspective of a family who’s lost a veteran.”
Visit WesternSlopeveterans.org for more information about the Western Slope Veterans Coalition and veterans resources around the Roaring Fork Valley.
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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