De Anza Daughters increase awareness of San Diego homeless veterans

The De Anza Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution welcomed Rick Ochocki, of Veterans Village of San Diego, to the monthly luncheon held Nov. 2 at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club in Solana Beach.

Ochocki is assistant to the Vice President of Communications and Development at VVSD, a local but nationally-recognized and non-governmental organization founded in 1981 by five Vietnam combat veterans and dedicated to the warrior ethic, “Leave No One Behind.” With five locations throughout San Diego County, VVSD is the only program of its kind in the United States.

An estimated 40 percent of homeless people in San Diego are veterans, men and women, many with substance abuse and PTSD, including many from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

“Men and women who come into the program feel they have been forgotten by society, that they have fallen between the cracks,” Ochocki said. “We offer time to get their lives together until they can go out into society as responsible citizens.” VVSD offers a long-term transitional program for homeless veterans with alcohol or substance abuse and serves more than 2,000 veterans each year.

Those accepted into VVSD may stay up to two years to receive housing, counseling, job training and legal services. A pilot program is also underway to help homeless veterans without addiction problems.

For three days each July, VVSD coordinates “Operation Stand Down” founded in San Diego in 1988 by veterans to help veterans get off the streets and reconnect with the community. They are provided clean clothing, showers, job counseling, medical and dental care, food and shelter. Two-hundred Stand Down events are now held each year throughout the U.S.

VVSD is supported by the Veterans Administration, grants and donations. Following Ochocki’s presentation, Linda Unrue presented $400 in contributions on behalf of members of the De Anza Chapter. Visit the Veterans Village website at

Stephanie Friedrich and Janice Daniel were inducted as new members into the De Anza Chapter by Joanne Dudek, Chaplin, and Laurel Lemarié, Regent. Stephanie’s ancestor, Andrew Glidden, born in 1737 in Exeter, New Hampshire, gave military service as a private in the army as well as patriotic service by signing the Association Test in Unity, New Hampshire in 1776. He survived the war to go on and have 19 children.

Janice’s ancestor, Captain Abraham Shepherd Lane, was born in 1758 in North Carolina. Only 18 years old when he enlisted, Captain Lane served seven years in the North Carolina militia. His arm was broken when shot through by a British musket ball at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse and he was again wounded at the 1781 Battle of Cowpens, a turning point in the southern campaign in the American Revolution.

A woman 18 years or older descended from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible for membership in the De Anza Daughters. If you think you have a Revolutionary patriot in your tree, call Laurel Lemarié, 858-756-2835, or visit