Coming home: Welcome Home Vets get new Grass Valley location | TheUnion.com

Coming home: Welcome Home Vets get new Grass Valley location

Not long ago, local nonprofit Welcome Home Vets celebrated its new location on South Auburn Street in Grass Valley.

The organization — which was founded to help veterans, active duty military, and veterans' families cope with problems resulting from military-related psychological trauma — made its move in August of 2016, but only recently became members of the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Welcome Home Vets executive director Ron Kapper said the organization's clients have served in a variety of conflicts from Afghanistan to Vietnam.

"We provide funding for veterans and their families in terms of (post-traumatic stress disorder) treatment," Kapper said. "We've provided almost 2,500 treatments in seven years."

Kapper said Welcome Home Vets differs from Veterans Affairs in that they focus on helping the vet as well as the vet's family.

Too often, he said, those who have served in any type of conflict will develop post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their military experiences. Just as often, the trauma will spread to the children and significant others of the vet.

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"Sometimes if a wife is close to divorce she will say, 'he was fine until he came back, and now he's a different person. I can't talk to him,'" Kapper explained. "That's why we want to focus on the family members because we know they're hurt by the effects of PTSD."

Kapper is proud that his organization was recently awarded a $40,000 Cal Vet grant that focuses on outreach. The organization, he said, is hoping with more outreach they will attract more new patients, as not nearly enough people who need the group's help are taking the first step to seek treatment.

"We have four therapists on staff," said Kapper, "and we'd like to have them completely filled up, and that's just not the case right now."

According to Kapper, Welcome Home Vets' new location will be easy for vets and their families to locate, as it resides in the main entryway of the Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

"Almost every vet knows where the vets building is," he said. "We're very fortunate we worked out a deal with the county, and we have the first office on the left just inside the main door."

The new space also offers much more room, including a conference room where peer groups can meet.

Nearly 100 percent of those who are screened to receive services from Welcome Home Vets are a match, and with a new location comes new hope that those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder will seek the help they need.

"PTSD is a common issue with those who have served in the armed forces, but the trauma extends to families as well," said Kapper.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com or 530-477-4231.