Stand Down event helps homeless veterans

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by Justin Corr

NWCN.com

Posted on November 10, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 9:06 PM

BOISE -- This Veterans' Day weekend, an annual event designed to help out those who have fallen on hard times got under way in Boise.

Saturday's Homeless Veterans Stand Down event aimed to give homeless vets the aid, supplies, and resources they need to get through the winter, and maybe, get back on their feet.

"It's a great event every year," said John Poarch, a social worker at Boise's Veterans' Affairs office. "Everybody is really appreciative."

On the eve of Veterans' Day, the Vet Center in Boise drew quite a crowd.

"As you can see from the large group of people that we have here today, there's a lot of veterans that are in need," said Poarch.

The annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down comes from a partnership between the V.A., the Vet Center and the Department of Labor. The Stand Down provides housing and labor help, medical, vision, and dental screenings, massages, sleeping bags, clothes, boots, and food to homeless vets, and those who are in danger of becoming homeless.

"Which is kind of the spirit of Stand Down, something that came out of Vietnam," said Terry Tippery, the team leader at the Vet Center. "It's a chance to come back from being in the bush, have a couple days in the rear, have some hot chow, get some fresh clothes, get some more gear. And then, get ready for your next operation."

Tippery says there are more than four hundred homeless vets in the Boise area. "We see a number of veterans who are homeless -- some people who came back, and never quite settled back into the community... Sleeping in their cars, sometimes sleeping by the river, any place that seems safe, and hopefully isn't wet, and hopefully is somewhat warm."

Those recieving aid say they are appreciative of the help.

"They have a lot of good services here. I went to the Stand Down last year, and it was a big help," said Randy Whitaker, one of the vets who showed up to get some assistance. "They just gave me a pair of reading glasses that I really needed. I'm hoping to get some help with housing, and maybe some employment."

Organizers hope all the men and women there, who sacrificed so much for their country, got some of what they needed.

"Hopefully, we can get them on to a better road," said Tippery.

The need is great, and the Vet Center only has so many resources. Just an hour in, they said they were already in danger of running out of sleeping bags and boots.

If you want to give a donation to help out the Boise Vet Center or the V.A., you can contact them at (208) 422-1000.

 

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