Lauralyn Castle, County of Sonoma Veterans Service Office, Human Services Department, Adult and Aging Division
“As a Veteran myself, I find that I can relate to the struggles that my fellow servicemen and women are facing everyday.”
Sonoma County has the second-highest Veteran population in California, and Lauralyn Castle works in one of the state’s busiest Veteran Affairs offices. That’s because many of the 30,000 veterans in Sonoma County return after they have served to the place where they were born and raised.
Some are down on their luck and need help finding a job. About 9% of the veterans are homeless.
Lauralyn is also a veteran — she served in the Army for three years until 1980 — and says the best part of her job is to be able to offer services to veterans, widows of veterans and their children who didn’t think they were eligible for benefits.
Lauralyn is also one of more than 2,200 county workers who are struggling to stay afloat financially because of severe cuts to their pay, a cost prohibitive healthcare plan and a skyrocketing cost of living which means many of her coworkers themselves are on the verge of homelessness. While Lauralyn loves her job, she stands up with workers of Sonoma County in their demand for affordable housing and healthcare and a fair living wage for all.