Article submitted by Arthur Tulak Ed.D., Retired U.S. Army Colonel & AMVETS life member
March 30, 2021
In light of the crumbling veterans facility opposite of the entrance to the Navy Magazine West Loch, AMVETS’ Department of Hawaii began construction new veterans center that has been serving the West Oahu area since November of 2020. The new center addresses several known gaps in the needs of veterans as well as an overall place of gathering for the veteran community.
“It is more convenient for veterans on the west side to be able to meet. We needed another location to offer similar assistance and services – we don’t charge, and we don’t require anyone to be a member,” said Hawaii AMVETS Commander Donovan Lazarus. “The center provides free-of-charge recreational activities/therapy to veterans, service members and their families, to include resume workshops for transitioning military and veterans.”
In 2018 AMVETS contacted Navy Facility Hawaii (NAVFAC HI), Asset Management Branch with an interest in leasing the vacant facility. The request was approved during JBPHH fiscal year 2019 4th quarter facility board meeting. Shortly thereafter, AMVETS Hawaii received the official approval letter.
“The building itself was in terrible shape, and initial tasks to be performed included the removal of an enormous amount of termite infestation in the interior, wasp nests outside the building, significant mold damage, and more,” said retired Colonel Arthur Tulak. “AMVETS has raised over twenty thousand dollars just to begin repairs. We can’t begin to thank the Habitat for Humanity of Leeward Oahu as well as countless AMVETS Oahu volunteers who have taken on this grueling project during a worldwide pandemic.”
The Center officially opened for business, on November 7, 2020, and has hosted over 30 events since to include various Veteran Organizations’ meetings, fundraisers, career workshops, and VA home loan seminars.
The center is located at 5001 Iroquois Avenue, in Building 612 on the West Loch Annex of Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, and is manned by volunteers from the Hawaii AMVETS Department, Hawaii AMVETS Service Foundation and the West Loch AMVETS Post.
When contemplating the future possibilities for the center, Commander Lazarus remarked that “The center will be known for improving the lives of veterans, service members and their families, a place known for inspiring our youth to find their purpose.”
“The feedback from numerous veterans organizations has been positive, and appreciative of the support AMVETS is providing for their Veterans organization to be able to use the facilities.”
For more information on the veteran center, visit AMVETS Department of Hawaii’s website.
AMVETS, which is also known as American Veterans, is the most inclusive Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization open to representing the interests of 20 million veterans and their families. We are veterans serving veterans since 1944. amvets.org