Stand Down lifts up homeless and needy veterans
TV News Article: See article and video here
LATHAM, NY– Wars may change but the needs of those who return from the fighting do not. Hundreds of veterans from Vietnam, the first Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq are expected to attend the 18th Annual Stand Down for Homeless Vets this weekend. 300 veterans who are homeless or close to being homeless will be matched with services that can, hopefully, get them back on track.
Larry Turner’s windowless office is where the 55 year old does the work that pays his bills and puts food on his table. “I just love my job a lot. It just has to do with giving back,” he said
Turner helps veterans down on their luck find employment and a place to live for the Albany Housing Coalition. It’s more than a job, because on and off for ten years, Turner himself, was homeless. The former Marine served his country in Vietnam but when he returned, things just weren’t the same.
“Not knowing is scary. You don’t know who to turn to. I mean you are really up against the wall,” said Turner. That wall turned into an open door for Turner two years ago at the Capital District Veterans Stand Down. It’s a one stop-shop where vets can find jobs and job training, clothes, food, housing and receive free medical help and life counseling.
“These are what makes you and I free, that makes America what it is. They’ve just fallen on hard times for a little bit and we’re hoping they can regroup and we can send them back to the community,” said Stand Down organizer Doug Williams.
The community vets like Larry Turner want to be a part of. Some just need a little assistance. “They serve their country, as I did. And it’s only right that we help those who are less fortunate,” he said.
The Stand Down is completely free for veterans. It runs from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday October 13 at the Colonie Elks on Elks Road, just off of Rt. 155 in Latham.
Oldtimer’s comment: Stand Downs are important as they bring out homeless veterans that otherwise don’t seek services, and are often outside of the VA radar. Like Larry Turner, many do get help through the services and opportunities presented in Stand Downs.
The only drawback is these Stand Downs are often held, at most, once a year in any given area and they occur in different places at different times of the year and the window of opportunity is short – in this case only 5 hours. They need to be held regularly, at least quarterly, and on a fixed schedule across the country. If a veteran knew that Stand Downs were held on the first Saturday of every 3d month across the country, they would know when to show up wherever they are.