Veterans stand up for stand down
by Paisley Boston
Apr 06, 2014 | 2547 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Gulf Coast Veteran Advocacy Council, Inc. and Taborian Urgent Care Center in Mound Bayou hosted Mississippi's first Homeless Veterans Stand-Down.

The event took place at the Mound Bayou Facility Building on Friday as part of Taborian Urgent Care Center grand opening.

"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.

“We had so many venders to come in and we had some veterans organizations. There are so many veterans in the Delta that normally do not show up for other events but they showed up today," said Herring.

“We had over 100 veterans to attend. There could have been more but I think the weather kind of scared some of them off. Delta Rides played a huge role in this event. They picked up veterans at various locations and we are so grateful for their partnership with us," he added.

Herring said he was very pleased with the turn out.

"Veterans in the Delta are the worst cared for because there are not any services that cater to them. I want to continue to host events that will help veterans in the Mississippi Delta. There should be a veteran section in the paper. We came into the Delta to make a difference and we want to continue to make a difference for the lives of veterans," said Herring.

“I plan to one day establish a clinic for veterans because there is no clinic between Memphis and Jackson. This has to come through Washington, D.C. so I am going to have to have a lot of political support," he added.

"I think we have the support of Bennie Thompson. His office has been great. When I made a call to Thompson about the Stand Down, I started to get calls from everywhere – the word about this event spread very fast," he continued.

Herring said he plans to host many other events to help veterans.

"I have established a large amount of sponsors in the Delta. We are looking for ways to provide various programs for veterans," he added.

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.