LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – You may have noticed a brand-new brick building next door to the Lufkin chapter of the Disabled American Veterans (D.A.V.).
The city of Lufkin is now the new home for D.A.V.'s statewide headquarters, and a benefits center for disabled vets
Theresa Johniken is a high-ranking leader in the state D.A.V., and Lufkin is her hometown. She knows personally why its important to have a presence here.
"We hope it gives them a place to come to get their benefits," said Johniken.
Answering questions about benefits, preparing claim forms, even offering counseling and advice... is not a problem because these folks fought for our country.
"We're in business for service and service is getting their claims and benefits that they earn - underline the word earn - It's not just something that we hand out, or the government hands out," said Johniken.
They hope this building brings a stronger recognition to the organization, not just in East Texas, but across the state.
Disabled Vet, Dennis Nixon, believes having the headquarters here will boost membership.
"Gets the D.A.V. in the forefront and that's what we want to do. We want to make sure Texans and especially Lufkin know who D.A.V. is," said Nixon.
The main reason for opening the center is to meet the needs of Angelina county disabled vets, as the center will provide a unique outlet for their homebound clients.
"We're going to buy computers where they can learn to email, use the Internet. And hopefully, socialize," said Johniken.
The message to local vets: The door is open, come on in.
The D.A.V. will be working with the V. A. clinic in Lufkin to provide peer-to-peer counseling.
They hope to be more of a home to disabled vets, instead of a clinical setting like the V. A..