Veterans ask Gregg County commissioners for help with new venue, location

Veterans ask Gregg County commissioners for help with new venue, location
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 3:37 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 7:57 PM CDT
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GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas veterans service office pleads with its commissioners court for a new venue.

The county-funded Veterans Service office in Longview is battling two problems that are interfering with their ability to help veterans in need.

At Gregg County Commissioners Court, numerous veterans took to the podium to speak about the difficult conditions they face when trying to get help from the veterans services office in Longview.

“A lot of them have PTSD or issues of mental health, and they’re going to a place that really is depressing,” said one veteran before the commissioners.

“I’ve been going there about five years; they’re amazing people. But there’s issues that are there, day after day after day,” says army veteran Derek Doughty.

The problem is two-fold. The office is now inadequate, and there’s a problem of vagrants and panhandlers accosting people as they are coming in and out.

“They’re looking for an opportunity there. I’m going to harass this family going in. I’m going to ask this , ask that,” says Doughty.

They’re asking commissioners for a new building.

At the current one located in the ‘Super One’ parking lot on highway 80, just getting in or out can be stressful for veterans and their families.

“We’ve always had this issue of either people loitering around the building. People do drug deals. You’re coming in to get assistance. You’re not coming in to be escorted in and out, to be asked for change or whatever,” says veterans services officer Kevin Marshall.

Longview police have periodically removed trespassers from the property, but Marshall says they simply return.

“It triggers anxiety in the veterans, the people that we’re helping,” he says.

For the staff and veterans, a comfortable, stress-free environment is need.

“It is a service that is changing lives. It’s helping,” Doughty says.