Veterans group forced to vacate as H-E-B expands downtown

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In the rush to pack up and move out Wednesday, Brothers of Fallen Heroes founder and president Bert Hernandez spoke of  countless fellow veterans, troubled and homeless, who have sought help at his office downtown. "We give them food if we have it, assistance, and we help show them where there's help available. They know we'll listen to them, we understand what they're going through." The Brothers of Fallen Heroes had planned on giving the military salute at a fellow veteran’s funeral earlier this week – another key duty of the four-year San Antonio nonprofit: free, respectful military send-offs, where they’ll often serve as the pall bearers. Instead, the Brothers are rushing to transport dozens of flags, other military garb and walls of photographs and mementos of fallen brothers and sisters by the week’s end. Served with an eviction notice earlier this month, the Brothers are moving to a temporary office north of Calaveras Lake, out of their downtown South Flores office, a spot where for four years they’ve served and comforted homeless veterans who venture in for help. Tenants of the Radio Jalapeño building (KEDA 1540AM) at 512 South Flores, Hernandez said the organization was given 30 days to vacate by KEDA President Albert Davila due to a pending sale of the property to H-E-B. “We were very surprised when we got that notice,” Hernandez said while packing Wednesday. “I’d say we’re pretty angry about it at this point.” The main concern for Hernandez is losing the downtown location, which he says is crucial to the Brothers’ mission: aiding homeless veterans. “The guys that come to us, our homeless brothers and sisters, they’re all in and around downtown. Word’s gotten around over the past four years. They say, ‘Hey, we know we’ve got this place. We can grab a bite to eat and they’ll listen to us.’” And the Brothers aren’t the only ones being forced to pack up. Art at the Jalapeño, a monthly arts event organization now incorporating as a nonprofit, was celebrating their two-year anniversary when they got notice to vacate this month. Marketing Director Angel Ayala told the Current this week, “It was quite deflating to be thinking, ‘Hey, we actually made it to two years,’ and then see that eviction notice.” The group hopes to be relocated to the Tobin Hill area by the fall. Davila of KEDA did not respond to an emailed interview request, but a station employee said KEDA has more than 30 days to vacate. And still, despite the evictions, H-E-B spokesperson Dya Campos said the sale of the building isn’t yet final. “If we do acquire the property it will become an extension of our Corporate Headquarters,” she wrote in an email. Packing up Wednesday, Hernandez suggested the only thing stalling the sale is his timely exit this week.

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