FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What is the Veterans Park Conservancy?
A. The Veterans Park Conservancy (VPC) is a California nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that was established in 1986 to maintain the integrity of the 388-acre property of the West Los Angeles Medical Center and the adjacent 115-acre Los Angeles National Veterans Cemetery. In partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), the Conservancy also seeks to protect the open space of the WLA VA property in honor of America’s veterans—past, present and future.
Q. How are its activities funded?
A. The VPC’s activities are made possible by donations from generous donors. It does not rely on government funding. As a 501(c)(3) entity, it is operated as a nonprofit organization.
Q. Who are its board members?
A. The VPC’s Board of Directors is composed of citizen volunteers, veterans and non-veterans alike who share a commitment to protection, enhancement and restoration of the WLA VA property and National Cemetery.
Q. What is the VPC’s track record?
A. Since 1986, the VPC has been at the forefront of efforts in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to protect the integrity of the WLA VA property; to prevent commercial development and similar inappropriate use of the site, and to forestall parcel sales. On countless occasions, the VPC has joined with civic and political leaders to prevent degradation of the property.
VPC’s accomplishments to date include:
- replacing the rusted chain link fencing around the Los Angeles National Veterans Cemetery with one mile of new decorative wrought iron fencing with 88 stately pilasters along Sepulveda and Wilshire Boulevards and Veteran Avenue;
- restoring the Spanish-American War Memorial Plaza at the intersection of Veteran Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard;
- building a grand entrance gate and pedestrian entry ways for the 115-acre “Arlington of the West” cemetery;
- moving forward legislation to name the l939 WPA chapel as the Bob Hope Veterans Chapel on his 99th birthday;
- designating a section of Wilshire Boulevard between Veteran Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard as “Veterans Parkway” and planting over 600 mature trees;
- replacing the rusted chain link fence around the Los Angeles National Veterans Park’s perimeter at San Vicente and Wilshire Boulevards with decorative wrought iron fencing, 90 stately pilasters, including a symbolic landmark plaza and perimeter fencing at the northwest corner of San Vicente and Wilshire Boulevards;
- the Hollywood Canteen Amphitheater when completed will be used for creative writing and poetry, music and performance art, and many opportunities for veterans to heal outside the confines of a hospital setting.
VPC has completed a more than $1.3 million restoration of the historic Women Veterans Rose Garden in the Los Angeles National Veterans Park. The DVA now utilizes the garden as a venue for innovative therapeutic and rehabilitation programs that are being used for all veterans especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Q. Who can use the Los Angeles National Veterans Park?
A. VPC is developing the Park for the benefit of veterans and their families. Larger community access is available during business hours and at other times as determined by the DVA. A federal court has recently upheld the authority of the DVA to regulate inappropriate conduct on the property in order to secure the privacy and security of resident veterans.
Q. Does the Veterans Park Conservancy provide direct services to veterans?
A. No. The VPC’s mission does not extend to direct programs for veterans of the kind which are provided by the VA. The provisions of such direct services – including housing for homeless veterans – are provided by other organizations and not VPC. More specific information about these services can be found at the VA’s web site, http://www.losangeles.va.gov/
The VPC is now engaged in providing opportunities to enhance areas of the Park that support the DVA’s Integrated Health Initiative, which emphasizes alternative therapies and holistic healing.
Q. How many veterans live on or access the Greater Los Angeles VA campus each year?
A. Over 85,000. Veterans by ethnicity: 67.4% White; 25.1% African American; 4.7% Asian; 1.5% American Indian; 1.2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 15.4% Hispanic/Latino. 57% have incomes less than $20,000. 91.5% are males.
Q. What are the "Invisible Wounds of War"?
A. In addition to physical wounds, more and more veterans are suffering from the "invisible wounds" of war, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). and generalized emotional stress. Veterans make up a substantial percentage of the homelesss population because they are unable to cope with returning to family life and employment. In the last 13 years, 1,650 veterans experienced amputation of some limb, while an astounding 70,000 struggled with PTSD and 30,000 with TBI. (Rand Corporation Study)
Sadly, for many years, the VA has treated these veterans with powerful painkillers to help them deal with pain and PTSD. This dangerous combination of trauma and opioid drugs leads to addiction for thousands of veterans, further compounding their problems. Some critics say that it amounts to treating mental illness with addictive narcotics.
Throughout the country, people are awakening to the important role that gardens and green spaces play in the process of healing. Important elements for healing include beauty, nature, color, design, connection to something greater than self, and therapies that combine the best of Eastern and Western medicine, incorporating mind, body, and spirit.
Q. How do I become involved or make a contribution to the work of VPC?
A. Visit our website (this site) which has more information about supporting VPC. We also encourage you to send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.