New Gaming Room Brings Camaraderie, New Wave of Veterans to VFW Post 8541

Influx of technology helps past, current military with mental health


SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio is Military City, USA, as we have thousands and thousands of active military men and women along with a host of veterans living in the city.

And a local VFW post made some 21st century renovations as an effort to recruit more local veterans to the post and to help veterans after they served our country.

“Honestly, with the quarantine stuff, I realized that before all of that, I was isolating way more than I even realized I was,” US Army Veteran Jake Van Hovel said.

Van Hovel served two tours overseas and got hurt in Afghanistan. He is now one of the many local veterans using a new and improved gaming room at VFW Post 8541.

“I’m excited about the VFW program incorporating gaming because I have seen how it’s helped both him as a combat veteran and my dad as a combat veteran, who never touched video games before,” Roslyn Vasquez, Jake’s girlfriend, said.

The new and improved room took months to build, and the pandemic didn’t make the process any easier. In fact, the post was even forced to shut down for a bit.

“We took that time to improve our fighting position here. You know, this was just an old storage area. We got our minds together and said, ‘Hey, we can build a gaming room,’” Chris Espinoza, junior vice commander of the post said.

The influx of technology means a lot for the VFW, as it promotes camaraderie and mental health.

“As soon as they come in the door, they feel welcome. They know this is a place to escape and you know, I’ll sit down and talk with them, for two or three hours, as any new face that comes in here,” Espinoza said.

As for Jake, he is a big fan of the new facility and doesn’t plan on slowing down his gaming anytime soon. “I’m making the gaming room at the VFW a big part of, you know, just my week and the schedule I’m trying to figure out for myself,” Van Hovel said.