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Three Veterans Discuss Helpful Services

If you are looking for a place that honors, helps, and supports veterans, who better to ask than the veterans they have helped? We contacted local veterans and asked them to share a story, experience, or recommendation for an organization that has truly helped them. 

Lex – Air Force Veteran

The Circle of Veterans and Families, Inc. (COV) is a 501(c)3 Charitable Organization in Saint Petersburg, Florida. We have recently relocated to our 9-bedroom St. Petersburg location, expanded services, created more living space, and moved closer to the Veterans Hospital for care and resources. We have created a small Veterans Village with employment support, educational opportunities, and social services. But most importantly, a “Peer Supported” communal living environment. COV provides housing, food, utilities, peer support, social service coordination, and other amenities and activities for our veteran residents. 

Restore – Repurpose – Rehome

Ken – Air Force | Army Veteran

In the Spring of 2012, I went blind. I had been blind in one eye since 1979 due to a service-connected injury. That loss of sight had never stopped me. I had been a race car driver and a photographer and held management-level positions in my professional life. But life changed dramatically when both eyes were gone. I had lost my independence. I could no longer drive, watch movies on TV, work on my computer, or take pictures. Since I lived alone, I was at risk of being unable to remain in my home. I found a great support system at the VA Eye Clinic, where I met Bill Wilson, who did everything he could to help me manage my new life. The first tool I was provided with was my BARD Reader. BARD is an online library resource with thousands of audiobooks and magazines. The BARD Reader became my good friend and a way for me to escape the realities around me. Over the years, I have received a computer and printer with special software for the visually impaired. Goggles for seeing computer and TV screens, and eyeglass readers with a special device to read labels, booklets, and mail. I know the VA doesn’t always have the best reputation. But the VA Eye Clinic really stepped up for this veteran. 

VA Eye Clinic 10770 N. 46th St. Tampa, FL 33617

Gary – Vietnam Veteran (a Story Shared by Don Hinst, Navy Veteran)

Service in Vietnam has taken its toll on Gary’s body. It hasn’t stopped him, though; he keeps on keeping on. I had asked Gary if he had any service-connected disability rating, and he said no. He explained that he had not pursued disability compensation because others were more deserving, and the paperwork was overwhelming. I encouraged him to contact Carol West, one of the Veteran Service Officers for Pasco County. Gary didn’t seem too interested at the time. About a week later, I ran into Gary at church. He rushed across the hall to greet me with a huge smile on his face. He began thanking me for the introduction and encouragement to contact Carol West at Pasco County. He shared how Carol and Seth warmly welcomed him at the Veteran Service Center for Pasco County and quickly began working on his veteran needs and challenges. 

I recommend Carol to any veteran who needs help regarding services and claims. Carol and her team at the Veteran Service Center in Pasco County treat veterans respectfully and do everything they can to help with veteran claims. 

Veterans Services 4111 Land O’Lakes Blvd. Ste 102 Land O’Lakes, FL 34639


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