JAMUL, CA – Chair Nathan Fletcher and Supervisor Joel Anderson of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors joined Jamul Casino and the Jamul Indian Village of California Tribe to commemorate Veterans Day with an exclusive event at Jamul Casino. This sixth annual luncheon paid tribute to the 53 members of the tribe and Jamul Casino team who have served in the military. The event also featured check presentations to veterans organizations Saddles in Service and Zero8hundred. The annual Veterans Day luncheon is part of the tribe’s and Jamul Casino’s commitment to recognize the courageous work of individuals and organizations making a difference in the San Diego community.
Erica M. Pinto, Chairwoman of the Jamul Indian Village, states, “Native Americans have a long history of military service, and at a higher rate than any other demographic,” said Erica M. Pinto, Chairwoman of the Jamul Indian Village. “This event offers the tribe an opportunity to honor this legacy and to thank our Jamul Casino veterans. For the first time this year, the tribe is doubling its annual Veterans Day donation by offering two checks for $10,000 each to local organizations serving veterans. Both recipients this year – Saddles in Service and Zero8hundred – are doing heroic work for our veterans, changing one life at a time. We’re truly honored to be able to recognize their service and those who have fought so bravely.”
According to Jon Simkins and Claire Barrett of the Military Times, Native Americans have served in the U.S. armed forces at a higher rate than any other group. Since 9/11, nearly 19 percent of all Native Americans have served in the military, in comparison to an average of 14 percent of all other ethnicities.
Founded in 2017 in Alpine, CA, Saddles in Service promotes mental health wellness and healing of veterans, active-duty military, and first responders through equine-assisted activities. Heroes and their families who have been diagnosed with or are experiencing symptoms related to post-traumatic stress (PTSD), anxiety, depression, job-related stress, and/or traumatic brain injuries are partnered with a rescue horse to help them rediscover their joy, hope, confidence, and purpose. The highly successful program has served nearly 700 heroes and adopted 27 healing horses.
The goal of Zero8hundred is to ease the transition from military to civilian life. Formed in January 2014 by a collaborative of more than 100 San Diego County public, private and military leaders and organizations, Zero8hundred matches transitioning personnel one-on-one with a Resource & Outreach Specialist. This individual helps identify each veteran’s unique needs and connects them to organizations and resources to meet those needs in the areas of employment, education, basic needs, health and well-being, and social/community connections. Since becoming an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization in January 2019, Zero8hundred has linked over 4,500 transitioning service members and their spouses to community resources and opportunities in San Diego, Riverside, Imperial and Orange Counties.
President and General Manager of Jamul Casino, Mary Cheeks, states, “We’re so proud of our service members and veterans, and thankful for the sacrifices they have made in defending our freedoms and way of life,” said Mary Cheeks, President and General Manager of Jamul Casino. “Our annual Veterans Day luncheon offers a special recognition to the heroes who live and work among us, and a way to thank the organizations who are supporting those heroes.”