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Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care Celebrates Veterans in Our Community

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care Celebrates Veterans in Our Community


111114-VNHCvets-630From left, Lynda Tanner, president and CEO of Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care; David Gonzalez, retired Santa Barbara police sergeant; Arlene Stepputat, VNHC volunteer manager; and Jim McClure, VNHC Vet-to-Vet Hospice volunteer. (Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care photo)


By Flannery Hill for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care | Published on 11.11.2014

On Tuesday, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care celebrated all veterans in our community with a 30-minute service in the VNHC Community Room.

The event included patriotic music, videos commemorating the holiday, and a display featuring photos and special memorabilia that local veterans have shared from their own service or that of someone close to them.

The 8 a.m. service began with the pledge of allegiance recited by Scott Eschbach, VNHC Vet-to-Vet Hospice volunteer, and “God Bless America” sung by David Gonzalez, retired police sergeant for the Santa Barbara Police Department.

During the ceremony, Arlene Stepputat, VNHC volunteer coordinator, took the opportunity to pin and present a certificate of appreciation to Carol Barringer, Marine Corps veteran and VNHC Vet-to-Vet Hospice volunteer. The service concluded with a recording of the Songs of the Armed Forces.

Through We Honor Veterans, VNHC offers a Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer program where veteran hospice volunteers are matched with patients who are also veterans and seeking hospice care. Veteran volunteers have the unique ability to relate and connect with each patient thereby creating an environment where life review and healing may occur.

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care is the leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive in-home health care. The mission of Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care is to provide high quality, comprehensive home health, hospice and related services necessary to promote the health and well-being of all community residents, including those unable to pay. It serves the greater Santa Barbara area, and Santa Ynez and Lompoc Valleys. Established in 1908, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care is one of Santa Barbara’s oldest nonprofit organizations.

For more information on Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, click here or call 805.965.5555.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.



Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Expresses Appreciation for Veterans

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Expresses Appreciation for Veterans


Peoples’ Self-Help Housing is joining with the rest of the country this Veterans Day to thank all those who have served in the armed forces for our country fighting for the freedoms we enjoy today. We are especially grateful to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“We will not forget all that these men and women have done for us since the inception of this nation,” PSHH CEO/President John Fowler said. “It’s important to keep thoughts of their sacrifices close to our hearts. At Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, housing veterans is one of our top priorities.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported earlier this year that there are nearly 50,000 U.S. veterans living on the streets. PSHH has made housing veterans one of its priorities, and currently has almost 150 as tenants in its 44 affordable housing developments throughout the Tri-Counties.

PSHH has been partnering with the Veterans Administration since 2012 to house veterans, and the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program has provided housing choice vouchers and rental assistance. PSHH additionally makes financial education, counseling, case management, and aging in place assistance available to its veteran tenants.

For more information, click here or click here.

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.



Local Companies Vying for Title in Foodbank’s Corporate Food & Funds Drive Challenge

Local Companies Vying for Title in Foodbank’s Corporate Food & Funds Drive Challenge


asdfasdgThis year’s Foodbank Corporate Challenge participants get ready to compete for the title. Top row from left:Tatum Adair (Deckers), Todd Mitchell (Curvature), Laura Arnold (Curvature), Mimi Bochenek (Citrix), Linda De La Torre (Brown & Brown Insurance), Melissa Aguilera (Brown & Brown Insurance), Cindy Torres (Brown & Brown Insurance), Leanna Merritt (Brown & Brown Insurance), Michele Talkington (Cox) and Taylor Lindberg (Yardi); bottom row from left: Amanda Mitchell (Curvature), Sandy Widstrup (Brown & Brown Insurance), Jennifer Mansbach (Village Properties), Cary Harrison (Cox) and Kelly Johnson (Yardi). (Foodbank of Santa Barbara County photo)


By Amy Bernstein for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County | Published on 11.10.2014

The competitive spirit surrounding the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s annual Corporate Food & Funds Drive Challenge gets more palpable every year.

The Corporate Challenge is a friendly competition among local businesses to collect the most points for food, funds and volunteer hours, all benefiting those in need in Santa Barbara County. Points are collected for each pound of food, turkey, dollar and hour of volunteer service donated, and are divided by the number of participants at each organization to create a points to employee ratio.

This year, seven local companies including (2013 winner) Brown & Brown Insurance, Citrix, Cox Media, Curvature, Deckers, Village Properties and Yardi have joined forces to help the Foodbank and compete for the 2014 title. The challenge kicked off Nov. 3 and will run through Dec. 31.

Last year, Brown & Brown Insurance secured their win with a total of $3,416.37 raised, 61.25 volunteer hours served and 2,000 pounds of locally grown produce harvested. The 2013 competitors were also able to collectively bring in 22,463 pounds of food, 266 turkeys, 442.5 hours of service and $47,309.44 in donations, a $5,700 increase from 2012.

“Brown & Brown Insurance and its employees know how important it is to give back to the community where they live, work, and raise their families,” said Susan Rodriguez, executive vice president of Brown & Brown Insurance Services of California, Inc. “Our culture promotes and encourages employee involvement through monetary and hours donated. Through our competitive environment, we work together to help those non-profits that we support improve their mission. Foodbank of Santa Barbara County provides much needed food and nutrition education in the community where we live and work. We enjoyed being part of the Corporate Challenge in 2013. Our competitive spirit was heightened as we received weekly and monthly results of those who participated in the Corporate Challenge. Brown & Brown Insurance looks forward to its continued support of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.”

“Foodbank applauds the dedication of our local business community, who continue to serve and enhance our region through their time, talent and support,” said Erik Talkin, CEO, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “These efforts are ever more critical to prevent working families in our community from having to sacrifice healthcare, housing or education to afford nutritious food. These businesses will help us help those in our community in need of nourishment and some holiday cheer.”

There are many ways for members of the community to participate in the drive as well. Individuals can establish their own Food & Funds Drive or can drop off nonperishable food at both the Santa Barbara and the Santa Maria Foodbank warehouses, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

You can also participate in a virtual food drive online, which lets people shop and make a donation to the Foodbank. To learn more, click here or contact development manager Misha Karbelnig at 805.967.5741 x119.

— Amy Bernstein is a publicist representing the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.



Garden Court to Honor Veterans with Barbecue Celebration

Garden Court to Honor Veterans with Barbecue Celebration


Everyone at Garden Court on De la Vina is getting ready for Veterans Day by putting on their red, white and blue.

In honor of all veterans, including the 18 resident veterans, Garden Court residents and staff are gearing up to celebrate this very special day with friends and families from noon to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Garden Court on De la Vina at 1116 De la Vina St. in Santa Barbara.

The Veterans Day festivities will begin with a barbecue lunch and will include Dixieland Jazz performed by the Basin St. Buddies. A reception will follow where families and guests are invited to enjoy coffee and cookies while listening to the residents veterans’ stories and viewing their memorabilia.

The event is open to the public, and guests can purchase barbecue tickets for $10.

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing Garden Court on De la Vina.



Austin Air Force Veteran looks back on serving in 3 wars

Austin Air Force Veteran looks back on serving in 3 wars



MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Rufus Dye is 91-years-old.

He lives a quiet life now at Parsons House Austin, an assisted living community.  But his life in the military was far from low-key.
The Air Force Colonel flew combat missions in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  He says he enjoyed his time in the service.

“Well of course, getting to fly was one of the major things and I guess…you know just the idea that it was kind of a thrill in a way knowing that you’re going to shoot at somebody or somebody is going to shoot at you and the lucky one wins,” Dye said.

One day during WWII, Dye’s squadron was bombing a rail yard in Cologne when he was shot down by enemy forces.  He had to bail  — thinking he would end up in a river down below.

“Get out of this airplane and then I’m gonna land in that damn river and drown!  But I didn’t, I floated across the river and landed flat on my back in a potato patch,” Dye said.

Colonel Dye says he laid there for a minute to catch his breath and then got up to start walking.

“I started to leave the parachute laying and I decided ‘No that would make a lot of pretty scarves’ so I grabbed my parachute and headed for the road,” Dye said.

He saw a French boy on his bicycle.  After convincing the scared young man he wasn’t German, he hitched a ride.

“So he puts me on his handlebar and parachute in the basket.  We rode into this little town and there was a British outpost there.  And he took me by the British outpost and dropped me off there and I gave him every damn penny that was in my escape kit!  I gave that kid a fortune in money,” he said.

The next morning, Dye says he couldn’t walk he’d been hurt so bad in the fall.  He spent 2 weeks in an army hospital.  When he was better, he was dropped off in downtown Paris hoping fellow soldiers would pick him up.

“I hadn’t been there more than an hour until one of the guys from my unit came walking by…we looked at each other like ‘Hey!’ Two guys seeing ghosts,” he said.

Colonel Dye has a Purple Heart and a handful of other medals for his service to this country.

Eventually he tried his hand at Optometry but opted to keep flying instead. 

Dye’s girlfriend Elizabeth Larson lived through those wars as well — she reflects on why people like Dye are so important to her.

“Well like a lot of us others that were back in that era, we feel that the reason we can be doing what we’re doing, we’re not under the Russians, or anybody now because of these men that sacrificed a lot,” she said.

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