Mayor Gloria announces formation of military, veteran and families council
Mayor Todd Gloria announced Monday the formation of the Military, Veteran and Families Advisory Council, which will meet quarterly and advise the mayor on ways to actively support the local military, veterans and their families.
"Our military service members and veterans, along with their families, are intrinsic to the fabric of San Diego — it's a huge part of who we are as a city and region," Gloria said. "We have a responsibility to ensure our city continues to cultivate a supportive environment to help those who have served as well those who have supported them."
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As its first formal action, the council plans to review the city's policies and procedures and propose ideas for the city to connect with and mobilize San Diego's veteran, active-duty military and caregiver communities.
Mary Tanaka remembers the difficulties of being a military spouse. Her husband was in the Air Force for almost two decades.
“It was a lot to kind of navigate, you know, moving from place to place every two to three years trying to settle down, trying to establish, you know, a community," said Tanaka, who was at the announcement of the council on the U.S.S. Midway.
Now her husband Hideaki, who is retired from the military, is part of the council.
Hideaki said it’s important to support the unsung heroes behind those in uniform, “People ask me what is the toughest job in the military and the toughest job in the military is being a military spouse or military family member,” adding he’s looking forward to making a positive impact on service families.
Mary is proud that her husband will be a part of this council and says it is long overdue, “Hearing something like this where a council for Mayor Gloria that wants to help these families and our children, help the spouses kind of create that community and identify resources that we can utilize … is wonderful.”
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"San Diego owes a debt of gratitude to our residents who have served in the military and their families," Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn said. "They have contributed greatly to our city. Like Mayor Gloria, I want their input on how we can make San Diego an even better place to live."
The group of 15 is comprised of eight women and seven men with representation from each branch of the armed forces, as well as representatives including a transitioning active-duty-to-veteran-status representative, veteran small business owner, military spouse and a veteran and military family caregiver.
"The California Department of Veterans Affairs administers programs and benefits to the state's approximately 1.6 million veterans," CalVet Secretary Dr. Vito Imbasciani said. "Local leadership plays a vital role when we welcome our veterans' home and helps to make California the greatest state in the nation for our veterans to live and work."