The Port of Hueneme, in collaboration with 12 other organizations, sponsored and hosted a wheelchair distribution for veterans in need on Friday, June 25, at the Port’s administrative offices. These wheelchairs are part of a larger effort coordinated by Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, Disabled American Veterans – Ventura Chapter 24, Knights of Columbus, and other organizations in the county.

Oxnard Harbor District Board President Jason T. Hodge stated, “We extend our sincere gratitude to military personnel for their bravery and dedication to our country. It is our privilege to honor veterans here in Ventura County, and we thank them for their courage and service, and participate in the distribution of much needed wheelchair equipment.”

Harbor Commissioner Jess J. Ramirez, a Vietnam veteran, also added “Partnering with our local veterans is important for the Port as we honor the brave sacrifice of local service members who are in need. This is one example of our Port supporting veteran initiatives, including the downtown Oxnard Veteran’s Memorial beautification project.”

In total, over a dozen groups raised nearly $33,000 to purchase this new shipment of wheelchairs. Organizations that assisted with the procurement of the wheelchairs include Port of Hueneme/Oxnard Harbor District, Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, DAV Ventura Chapter 24, The Knights of Columbus Los Padres Chapter, Camarillo Somis Pleasant Valley Lions, Las Posas Country Club, Yolanda’s Mexican Café, Oxnard Monday Club and Topper’s Pizza.

“Our veterans are important to the fabric of our community and their sacrifice to our great country will forever be appreciated,” said Kristin Decas, CEO & Port Director. “During this COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to provide resources that ensure the health, safety, and mobility of our local veterans.”

In addition to 40 wheelchairs located at the Port of Hueneme, a total of 110 wheelchairs will also be stored at locations across Ventura County including Holy Cross Catholic Church in Moorpark and the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation in Camarillo.

Megan Bland, District Director from the Office of Congresswoman Julia Brownley (26th District), remarked about how many lives will be changed because of the generosity of those who contributed to making the donation of the wheelchairs possible. “These wheelchairs are not just a mobility assistance device, they represent independence, freedom, and safety—ideals that the veterans who will receive these wheelchairs risked their lives to defend for us,” said Bland.

“Helping to provide wheelchairs like this is really such a simple yet critical need and life-changing event for these veterans,” said Jim McHugh, Veterans Services Officer from the County of Ventura’s Veteran Services Office. “Our veterans bravely did what they were called to do so that we can safely do what we are free to do. I am so proud to be a part of this community.” For more information about this project, or to request a wheelchair, contact Gold Coast Veterans Foundation (805) 482-6550.