New chairman plans for more veteran services at center


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With the chairman reins at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center firmly in hand, Vietnam veteran Don Pearsall is ready to help expand the center’s reach to local veterans.

“We’re going to create new programs and reach out to more vets,” said Pearsall, who in July replaced Donn Weaver as chairman of the Merritt Island-based veterans resource center.

Pearsall’s first job is to build an advisory board that will connect with local groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He is certainly the right man for the job since he just stepped down as commander of VFW Florida District 8, a group that serves more than 6,000 vets in 14 posts in the Sunshine State.

“It gave me a good idea of what vets need,” he said.

Connecting veterans with needed services remains one of the BVMC’s top priorities.

“We want to encourage vets to become members of the center and to receive all the benefits to which they are entitled,” Pearsall said.

The Veterans Memorial Center, which includes resources for veterans, a military museum, library, plaza and park, serves a geographic area with one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the state. Pearsall notes that approximately 72,000 veterans make Brevard County their home, in addition to the 22,000 active duty military stationed on the Space Coast.

Among the first tasks Pearsall will tackle is the issue of affordable housing for veterans. Central Florida remains one of the tougher housing markets for veterans.

Pearsall also will be part of Forward March, the veterans’ initiative launched by Gov. Ron DeSantis to assure the State of Florida is providing appropriate support for veterans. The latest meeting of this initiative took place at Port Canaveral on July 16.

“We’ve got a lot of work ahead,” Pearsall said.

Membership in the Brevard Veterans Council/Veterans Memorial Center is open to veterans and active duty military in all branches of the Armed Forces.

A single membership fee of $100 provides lifetime membership in both organizations.

Membership provides the opportunity to access up-to-date information on veterans’ activities and services in the area. Members also can get involved in helping the organization provide services to veterans or work with the museum, library or plaza teams.

For information, call 321-453-1776 or go to veteransmemorialcenter.org.

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