Vets 4 Veterans is a local, grass-roots non-profit 501(c)3 ID #80-0657134, dedicated to empowering local veterans, who suffer the physical and psychological wounds of war, to successfully reintegrate into the life of the community.
Vets 4 Veterans was founded by Tom Hilzendeger and a group of Vietnam Combat veterans who were attending a PTSD group at the Antelope Valley Vet Center. We learned through our own healing process that “staying busy doing good” was where we needed to be.
We learned the meaning and the action of the word altruism.
The goal of Vets 4 Veterans is to assist any veteran that needs help, whether it be medical or dental assistance, assistance in pursuing their education, or assistance in their daily living situation. Vets 4 Veterans is dedicated to providing support for our young warriors as they return and readjust to life in the community. We are sensitive to the needs of women veterans who have served their country. Having been through difficult times as we returned from combat, we understand what they may be going through. We are here to help, through care and community.
We can’t do this alone; we need our community. We need your support, and we need your help. Our fundraising events and the generosity of local individuals and businesses make all this possible. We are all volunteers, dedicating ourselves to the goal of a better life for our local veterans.
Tom grew up in Southern California. He entered the US Army in 1968 and trained at Fort Ord, California. He went to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for Advanced Individual Training. Tom was in Vietnam ’69-’70, assigned to the 31st Engineers, and worked with the 1st Cavalry, stationed at LZ Buttons.
Gerry is a native of Santa Monica, CA. He was drafted into the US Army in 1968, and served in Vietnam as a Scout Dog Handler, 33 rd IPSD, 11 Bravo, ’69-’70. Gerry and his young family moved to the Antelope Valley in 1975. Gerry is a Marriage and Family Therapist and was part of the original staff of the VA Antelope Valley Vet Center, 2009-2015. He was instrumental in supporting the founding of Vets 4 Veterans. “I believe healing best happens in a community of care, where we find compassion, and commitment.”
Debora was born and raised in New York City. She came to the Antelope Valley in 1987. Debbie’s father and her brother were both veterans, and she has been working with Vets 4 Veterans for 8 years.“It is truly a blessing being able to assist and show my support for local veterans.”
Megan, the surviving spouse of founder Tom Hilzendeger, was born and raised in Southern California. She and her family moved to Palmdale in 1986. Megan has been with Vets 4 Veterans since its inception in 2009. “I am honored to be a part of this amazing organization and our incredible veteran community.”
Carol was born and raised in Southern California and has been an Antelope Valley resident since 1975. She is the spouse of a Vietnam Combat veteran and began working with Vets 4 Veterans in 2012. “Witnessing the strength and commitment that veterans bring to a community is what makes this work meaningful.”
Sgt at Arms
Sandi was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and moved to Palmdale in 1981. She is the surviving spouse of Jack Woolbert, Navy veteran. Sandi first volunteered with Vets 4 Veterans in 2013. “Working with Vets 4 Veterans and veterans in the community is rewarding to give back to those that have served their country with honor.”
Tony was born in downtown Burbank in 1963. He served in the USMC 1st Battalion, 14th Marines Unit from 1981 to 1987. He moved to the Antelope Valley in 1989 and has been working with veteran organizations since his retirement in 2018. Tony has been working with Vets 4 Veterans since 2019. “It is a Privilege and an Honor to serve, help, and be friends with ALL veterans I have met through Vets 4 Veterans, Coffee 4 Vets, Bombshell Betty’s, Marine Corps League, and especially Escorting our Fallen Brothers & Sisters to their final resting place downrange with the Patriot Guard Riders.”