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Casa de Flores in Santa Maria encourages veterans to stop by for support

Veterans PTSD
Posted at 11:32 AM, Aug 30, 2021

Camp Flores, also known as Casa de Flores in Santa Maria, is a place where veterans can go for support. Over the weekend, they encouraged vets to stop by and chat during what has been a difficult time for many.

"Come be with your own. Comfort and give comfort," said veteran Steve Baird.

With the events taking place in Afghanistan, Baird says now is the time for veterans to get together and provide each other with a sense of community and understanding.

Veteran Larry Hislop compares the anger he feels about the Thursday attack at the Kabul airport to the way he felt during the 9/11 and Benghazi attacks and feels for the families of the victims.

"I'm sorry for the loss that they've gone through. Their sons, and I know there's a daughter in there too, they died heroes," Hislop said.

Thursday's attack also brought back memories of their deployment.

"Horrible. I saw some bad stuff and did some bad stuff and I just... it still haunts me," said veteran Mickey Perez.

In addition to sadness, there's also a great deal of frustration.

"It didn't have to happen. It was the bloodiest day we had in ten years," Hislop said.

"I feel like we wasted 20 years there," Perez added.

The quick exit of U.S. troops leaves some asking, why?

"Now we're just high tailing it out. So why did we go there in the first place?" Perez asked.

Hislop says it's important to remember the sacrifices our troops made during their time in Afghanistan.

"They kept us safe for 20 years and that's the bottom line. I can't help but think that these people that fought over there for so long to think that they did it for nothing," Hislop said.

Though U.S. troops will ultimately be pulled out, their sacrifice over the last two decades will never be forgotten.

"But I want them to know that they didn't do it for nothing. Our nation has been safe here on the homeland for 20 years, and that's what they did and they kept us safe and I thank them from the bottom of my heart," Hislop said.

Baird encourages anyone in the community to visit Casa de Flores and say hello. He says that sense of community keeps them going every day.

To contact Casa de Flores, call (805) 458-0368.