Established on January 27, 2011, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization the Veterans Supportive Services Agency, Inc. (VSSA) is dedicated to advocating and providing life-enhancing supportive services allowing veterans and families to be self-sufficient so they can live with independence and dignity.
VSSA's core mission is to help injured Veterans apply for service connected disability compensation or to assist them to file with the goal to reach a level of service connected disability up to 100%, if so richly deserved. VSSA also helps injured Veterans who already filed their claims and/or whose claims were denied.
This is our job. Why? Because being injured limits our ability to continue earning a living. With 100% service connected disability compensation, coupled with appropriate health care, a Veteran and his family can live in independence with dignity.
Serving our country with the United States Armed Forces is one of the most honorable and noblest causes for any American. We served in times of crisis and peace. When we serve during crisis and get injured, the federal government, through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will help and fulfill President Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address in which he stated "to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan."
Helping those injured should be a positive experience. We deserve to be treated well because we fought for our freedom and our country.
Reaching a 100% level of service connected disability is not only financially rewarding but will open a wide array of other benefits including health care, mental health and dental care.
It is our hope that in the future more Veterans will receive what they deserve in terms of compensation relative to the type of injury incurred while serving in the US Armed Forces. It is also our hope that each of us will continue to support those who served our country in times of crisis and peacetime. After all, they have sacrificed so you and I could enjoy our freedom so richly envied by others.
"Veterans, you served our country. Now it’s our turn to serve you.”
Tito A. Cortez, MSW
Disabled Vietnam War Veteran
Founder and Executive Director, Veterans Supportive Services Agency, Inc.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kelly Estes, Chair
Kelly Estes is the Author of The Cost of Courage, a military fiction novel depicting the service of her great uncles who served in the Pacific and European Theaters of WWII. She is a graduate of Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce Management. She also holds a Paralegal Certification from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and is presently a student enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in pursuit of a Masters Degree in Public Administration. She also holds a First Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and was named Instructor of the Year in 2003.
Her journey with veterans initiatives began at the age of fifteen when she produced and directed a documentary detailing her great uncle's service in the Doolittle Raid as part of a local organization dedicated to preserving the stories of United States Veterans. For this effort, she was awarded the History Channel Community Historian Award on November 11, 2006. After serving for 4 years as an Board of Supervisors appointed member of the Santa Clara County Youth Task Force where she was Chair of the Research Committee, in 2009, at the age of 19, she was appointed by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors as the youngest serving Human Relations Commissioner. While serving on the Commission, Kelly was appointed as Chair of the Justice Review Committee and in that capacity founded and lead the Santa Clara County Veterans Proactive Assistance Task Force which focused on assisting veterans struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Tiara Cortez Miller, Secretary
Tiara is a Bay Area native and comes from a long line of Veterans. Her father, who served with the US Army, is a Disabled Vietnam War Veteran. Both of her grandfathers also served in the US Army during World War II, Korea and are Purple Heart recipients. One of her grandfathers was a Prisoner of War (POW) during the Ba'taan Death March during World War II.
Tiara works as an Advanced Planning Counselor with Sacred Space Memorial, and assists eligible Veterans register for their earned burial benefits. She holds a MS in Organization Development from University of San Francisco, and has worked in Human Resources at high tech companies like Google, Synaptics and NEC. When she's not working with Veterans or event planning for VSSA, Tiara enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, reading, cooking and crafting.
Cris Cabaya, Treasurer
Born in Lungog, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, Cris married my high school sweetheart Mila at NASA Moffett Field, California. They have three children (Born in Oakland, CA) and three grandchildren. He enlisted in the US Navy in June 1968. His duty stations in chronological order were: Naval Station, Kefllavik, Iceland, USS Agerholm (DD 826) homeported in San Diego, California, Naval Air Technical Training Center, located in NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, USS Benjamin Stoddert (DDG 22) homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Naval Air Station, Fallon, Nevada, Naval Station, Midway Island, USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Hector (AR 7), & USS Samuel Gompers (AD 37) all homeported in Alameda, California. His last duty station was Personnel Support Detachment at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mount Clemens, Michigan where Cris retired in August 1988 as Disbursing Clerk Chief. All the ships he was on were all involved in operations during the Vietnam conflict.
During his tour of duty in Fallon, Nevada, I attended Chapman University and graduated with a degree in Business with a major in Economics. While on active duty, Cris always helped his shipmates with their financial problems especially tax problems and so after becoming a civilian, he obtained his tax preparer's license.
Cris retired from the US Postal Service in 2010. Today, Cris goes fishing with his son-in-laws and his grandson or works as Commander of American Legion Northside Post 858 and as Treasurer of VSSA.
Barry Bamford is the Founder and President of Sacred Space Memorial. Barry has managed cemeteries and funeral homes in every conceivable market condition for over 35 years. Sacred Space Memorial was created to provide transformational end-of-life experiences at a value. We are experts on VA Burial Benefits and the application and qualification process. Our services are designed to tie seamlessly to your burial benefits.
Carmelo Casayuran, Veteran, US Marine Corps, Gulf War
Cyndee is currently the Director of Volunteer Services with Bridge Hospice in Fremont. As a Korean American, she grew up in the Bay Area with her brother and parents. In 1950, during the Korean War, both her parents were six years old and faced many hardships and suffering. Her father shared stories of the US military presence during this time and their acts of kindness and generosity.Through her journey with hospice, first as a volunteer visiting with patients, Cyndee was able to meet the spouses of the brave men who lost their lives during the Korean War. She shared the stories with the spouses and offered gratitude on behalf of her parents who are now very proud grandparents of two. Cyndee holds a MS in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco and a BA in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from San Jose State University with management experience in hospice and nonprofit organizations. One of the most memorable experience Cyndee had was meeting her spiritual teacher, His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2007.