Veterans Leadership Council reaching out

Deborra Brannon
Tim Grenvik

The Siskiyou County Veterans Leadership Council was created when Tim Grenvik decided to streamline his efforts as the county’s Veterans Service Officer.

He decided that rather than going to every meeting of every agency with whom he needed to be in contact, he’d bring the leaders of other veterans services agencies together into one committee – and the Veterans Leadership Council was born.

“It gives us a chance to talk about who’s doing what for veterans, and where,” Grenvik said. “The meetings introduced the groups to each other and they began working together.”

The Veterans Leadership Council was responsible for bringing the traveling Vietnam Wall to Siskiyou County, for hanging banners with the photographs of veterans on Fairlane Road in Yreka, and for getting Highway A12 dedicated as the Veterans Memorial Highway.

The Council also started both the Korean and the Vietnam veterans barbecue events.

The group is funded by donations. “As a nonprofit, the Council can accept donations and do other things the county and the state aren’t set up to do,” Grenvik explained.

Project funding is provided in part by the Missing in America Project out of Shasta County, an organization now part of the Council.

“We started out with three American Legion Posts, the Marine Corps League, and the County Veterans Commission. Now MIAP and Victory Ensured Through Success have a seat on the council as well,” he said.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey is the veteran representative on the council and Tony Ginocchio, the county’s Veterans Remains Officer, is also a member.

Grenvik said the group is “building up the coffers” so they can do more for veterans in the county.

They are interested in doing whatever they can to be of service – from small recent projects like building a wheelchair ramp for a Navy veteran’s wife and assisting with costs for another veteran’s cremation to producing the Armed Forces Day event held annually for the past several years in the Armory.

“We’d like to see the Veterans Leadership Council have the ability to help at-risk veterans who are living at or below the poverty line, couch surfing or living in their cars or with family,” Grenvik said.

Some years ago he felt he was seeing acknowledgement and celebration of veterans diminish in Siskiyou County, where he has lived since he was a toddler.

Now, working in concert with the Veterans Services Office, the council is determined to keep veterans in “the public psyche” as an important members of society.

“If you want to see a true slice of America, look at a vet. They represent every ethnic and cultural background and every level of our society – the full spectrum. It’s good to be able to reach out and serve them all,” Grenvik said.

The positions he holds as chair of the Veterans Leadership Council and as the county’s Veterans Services Officer both have expanded “tremendously,” according to Grenvik.

He is excited about the potential for the Leadership Council to grow “significantly,” and said he will retire from his county position in October to devote himself to the council.