John L. Smith: Vets Honored But Struggle For Help In Nevada

       Memorial Day is a reminder of the service and sacrifice made by our military veterans.

     As the day approaches, John L. Smith wonders at the complex question of whether Nevada is sufficiently caring for its veterans.

       The survey firm WalletHub, which relied on government statistics to base its state-by-state rankings, places Nevada as the seventh-worst state for military retirees.

       And this in a state that houses two air force bases, one naval base and an army depot—to say nothing of the thousands of military veterans who live here.

“Nevada’s growth is really central to this problem," Smith said, "We’ve been playing catch up a long time and a lot of folks in our congressional delegation have heard that, know that and are on the ground and they’re trying but obviously they’re having problems getting caught up.”

Besides the growth, Smith said there is a lot of good people working on veteran's services but there just isn't enough of them.

Another issue is the seemingly endless wars the United States is involved with, which means veterans issues are always burgeoning.

In Las Vegas, homeless veterans are a big problem. Homelessness, in general, is a big problem in Southern Nevada but being a veteran brings another layer to it.

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“If you’re a veteran and you bring some of the issues that veterans have it’s even worse. It’s hard to get off the street once you’re on it,” he said.

While there are people like Arnold Stalk, who has created Veterans Village downtown, working on the problem, Smith noted Stalk is working on one part of a much larger pie.

“I think what Nevada’s vets need, especially in Southern Nevada, they need a real urban outreach. They need improved mobile infrastructure if you will. This is just my opinion from watching it over the years. They need increased access to medical services,” he said.


“This is one of those stories that is about someone from your neighborhood who is a quiet leader in the neighborhood," Smith said.

Assemblyman Thompson died suddenly at the age of 51.

The funeral for the lawmaker from North Las Vegas was held over the weekend. Mourners packed the church to pay their respects.

Smith said Thompson was one of those people who cut a lot of trails for his constituents and community. He also said he was a man who stood for the right things like public education.

He also pointed out that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle honored Thompson and showed an outpouring of grief for his loss.


John L. Smith, State of Nevada contributor

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