Retired Navy diver helps keep veterans center in Monrovia afloat

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MONROVIA, Calif. (KABC) – A retired Navy diver and Vietnam War veteran wrote his stories, wrote books and used the profits to fund a local veterans resource center.

Joe Callahan, 69, has spent the past five years volunteering at the Monrovia Public Library, helping to manage its veterans resource center. It helps vets navigate their way through the tangle of paperwork to find the government resources they are entitled to.

“Veterans need a place that simplifies and streamlines their requests,” Callahan told Eyewitness News, “to make sure the veteran receives all the support and benefits he’s earned.”

Monrovia librarian Mabel Cross has counted on Callahan’s help since the resource center opened in 2016, calling him “very enthusiastic, very determined”. Cross adds, “He doesn’t take no for an answer.”

There are over 60 Veterans Resource Centers throughout the state of California, initially funded by the California Department of Veterans Affairs. But after two years of funding, the state leaves it to each resource center to find its own source of money.

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“The materials we need, we have to pay for them. We are billed for every book, brochure and brochure, ”Callahan said. “We needed to have funds to replace these materials, so donations are important.”

But donations can be hard to come by, so Callahan came up with a plan: write books and use the profits to fund the Monrovia Veterans Resource Center.

“The first question my wife asked me was, ‘Well, what are we going to do with the royalties? Callahan explained. “I said ‘We’re going to give them to the Veterans Resource Center. We don’t need them and they can use it.'”

So far, Callahan has written and published two books: 1972: My war story and Marine Diver. When the books, which can be found on Amazon, sell, the proceeds go straight to the vet center.

“Now that he has the book, every month I have a check,” exclaimed Cross.

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