Veterans to get help standing down
by Paisley Boston
Mar 07, 2014 | 2032 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After serving in the Vietnam War, many soldiers were relieved to hear the words, "Stand down soldier," from their commanding officers.

Some of the less fortunate, homeless veterans will hear or see these words once again on April 4.

The Gulf Coast Veteran Advocacy Council, Inc. and Taborian Urgent Care Center in Mound Bayou will host Mississippi's first Homeless Veterans Stand-Down.

The event is set to take place at the Mound Bayou Facility Building from 8 a.m.- 3 p.m.

"It is normally a component with community partnerships that come together and try to identify homeless individuals. The Stand Down is primarily hosted to help veterans who may need services such as filing claims and food," said Coordinator and Veteran Joseph Herring.

Herring said the Gulf Coast Veterans Advocacy Council has been hosting the event for over 20 years and it is normally hosted in Florida.

"Veterans in the Delta are the worst cared for because there are not any services that cater to them. During this event, we will setup booths that will offer multiple services to veterans," added Herring.

"I am a Vietnam Veteran and one of the things that they had for us when returned from a war was a Stand Down to help us relax and recuperate," he continued.

Stand Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well being.

"They would allow us to take showers and provide us with health kits," said Herring.

In times of war, exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover were removed from the battlefields to a place of relative security and safety.

At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment.

Stand-Downs are just one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs' efforts to provide services to homeless Veterans.

The event is typically one to three days and it provides services to homeless Veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as health care, housing, employment, and substance use treatment.

Stand-Downs are collaborative events, coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies, and community agencies serving the homeless.

The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego.

Since then, Stand Downs have been used as an effective tool in reaching out to homeless Veterans.

Transportation will be provided in the following counties: Cohoma, Desoto, Panola, Tallahatchie, Quitman, Tunica, Bolivar, Yazoo, Sunflower, Washington and Leflore

For more information, contact Herring at 850-346-3996 or 888-838-6694 and for pick up locations call 877-866-8272.