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Operation Second Chance looking to offer veterans an escape from reality

Posted at 6:26 AM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 10:06:49-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — When veterans come home, oftentimes they find it difficult to adjust back to civilian life and escape the feeling of active duty. One organization here is hoping to help veterans with this by taking them on new experiences, all at no cost.

Operation second chance is all about veterans building bonds whether it be between you and your loved one, your caregiver, spouse, or your other brothers and sisters in arms. and this week, the organization is looking for local veterans to take part in their latest experience.

As veterans returning from a tour can tell you, returning to everyday life is not easy.

“We need to build back that camaraderie,” said Josh Conner, Veteran Military Support Liason for Operation Second Chance Kern County.

That’s the drive behind Operation Second Chance, an organization that takes veterans and their loved ones, and offers them an escape. Through retreats and activities, operation second chance wants to help veterans build rebuild their relationships and trust. More than 14,000 Veterans and family members served.

Since its inception in 2004, Operation Second Chance has provided $10.5 million in Emergency financial assistance and morale-related activities. Emergency assistance ranges from mortgage and rent payments to keeping families in their homes. Utility payments, travel, and lodging. Grocery cards are also provided.

“We did something, went to a new city on the east coast without our caregiver, without our spouses, so we were all anxious but as long as we stick together we can handle anything.”

Operation Second Chance is newer to Bakersfield, but they're looking to build a program. Right now, the organization is putting together smaller events to bring veterans out and get involved.

The next one will be an escape room at Real Escape located in Southwest Bakersfield.

“They were generous enough to donate the facility to us for some of our disabled veterans as an escape from reality.”

The evening will take around 15 veterans and give them the opportunity to use the problem skills they learned in the armed forces and put them to the test to solve these puzzles.

“We’ve been trained to make split-second decisions you know, and make it be the right decision.”

Conner says they are working to put together even more events together for veterans and their spouses, from camping trips to retreats. If you're interested in taking part, you can send an email to Joshua@operationsecondchance.org.