Veterans unite to build self-sustained living community - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Veterans unite to build self-sustained living community

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Just as plans are in the works to build a new veterans hospital on Guam, more efforts are underway to give back to those who have served and fought for our freedom.

It's part of their mission of giving back to the community, as Diron Cruz recalled, "So we said, we can sit back and complain about it or we can step forward and do something about it." And with many issues facing veterans on Guam and throughout the region, a group of veterans have come together to create the Western Pacific Regional Veterans Community Living Center Project. The group is called Team CORE.

Member Tim Ohno stated, "Team CORE stands for Competent, Organized, Responsive and Efficient and we're consortium comprised of us four, and each of us when you add up the total service we had in the military it's over 100 years." And according to Cruz, also a member, while Team CORE just recently formed, the idea of building "Guam's first self-contained and self-sustained assisted living community" is years in the making. He said, "It's not a one special purpose center, it's a center where we can address a lot of issues, not just one...there's not one that exists in the nation."

This one-stop community living center will exist to provide basic health care and specialized services such as a clinic, counseling, retail commercial center, transitional billeting, home-based primary care for bedridden veterans, employment and training. Team CORE team member Ben Palacios said, "This is not about us, this is about our veterans - we're focusing on the thousands of veterans we have not just on Guam but in the region, we're trying to answer their call."

There are an estimated 27,000+ veterans in the region and this center would cater not just to Guam but those in the FSM, the CNMI, Marshall Islands, Palau and the Philippines.

Meanwhile, according to Team CORE member Marlene Slomka, while she was not privy in releasing details on size and costs, but says there is a proposed location in mind along with investors on board. She adds they are in talks with both the local and national veterans affairs to help with the project. "We needed this facility yesterday, so right now the designers and the investors are really working double time behind the scenes," she said.

But what does Team CORE think of another project recently proposed to build a new veterans hospital on Guam? Ohno said, "I applaud his effort that will do anything to help out veterans that's pretty admirable, but speaking form a veteran's perspective, most veterans understand veterans."

The proposal in the meantime could change based on the feedback of our veterans as surveys are being distributed out in the community. For more information you can email Team CORE at sofintek@yahoo.com
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