|Vietnam Veterans of America|
Orange County, California, Chapter 1024
BY FRANK BARRY
During the pandemic VVA Chapter 1024 in Orange, California, has been meeting outdoors on the grounds of the nonprofit Patriots and Paws in Anaheim. This organization, which has been supported by the chapter for many years, was recently profiled in The Los Angeles Times.
Penny Lambright started Patriots and Paws in 2010 when her nephew returned from the Middle East and told her that members of his unit were coming home broke and they needed help. Lambright used a $125,000 inheritance to rent storage units that she filled with household goods. After filling half a dozen units, she moved the operation to a warehouse in Orange, then to its current location.
The place is always active. Veterans are free to wander the aisles and select anything they need to set up housekeeping—from furniture to kitchen utensils—all for free. Patriots and Paws has helped more than six thousand veterans in the last ten years. Even during the pandemic, business bustled with more than a thousand pickups. Chapter 1024’s helicopter, which is taken to parades and used as a fundraising tool, is parked outside.
Penny Lambright’s pit bull Jake is where the “paws” comes in. She believes dogs rescue people as much as people rescue them. So part of her mission is to work with animal rescue groups to pair dogs with veterans.
Chapter 1024 will continue to support Patriots and Paws by taking its helicopter into the community and raising money for the organization, as well as for other nonprofits that support veterans.
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