Helping Veterans: Operation Stand Down has been successful in matching the right services to those Veterans who are struggling to get their life back together.
Even for those veterans who return to life on the streets, Operation Stand Down is an opportunity for them to take safe harbor from "combat on the streets" for one weekend a year. Certainly, our Veterans deserve at least that.
I served in battle in Vietnam in 1975 and never realized my real battle would begin when I returned home. For the longest time I didn’t even want to tell people I was a veteran. I bounced from job to job, couch to couch, meal to meal. It took getting arrested to shake my battle with homelessness. While I was in jail, I heard about the One Community Now Stand Down and how it had helped others connect with all the resources I would need to find housing, get a job and even help with my legal issues. In 2015, I went to the Stand Down and was able to get my license back after attending the Veteran’s Court, I also found a job and housing. I returned in 2016 to offer my services as a volunteer to other Veterans who were struggling like I was. I am currently in the process of opening my own business and I will be serving on the Core Team for the 2017 Stand Down. This is an amazing community event that really makes a difference in the lives of Veterans.
Thank you One Community Now Stand Down Core Team!
Maurice, Veteran in Pasco County
I am a vet that came for the Stand Down living at HEP. I am so glad I went, I have never seen anything like what you guys put on outside of the military. I cannot really put into words the impact your event did for me. I received more information, and help in 24hrs than I could have done myself in a month. The vendors there spent time to explain things in a way in which you could understand, and I found out things I would normally never find out going to their offices. People actually cared, and that was awesome, I had to fight back tears several times throughout the speakers and events; I felt proud again, you and your crew did that. I hope you guys realize how much you did for us vets out there. God bless you, and thank you so much.
Mike K, Veteran in Clearwater
I want to thank Brian and Patti for the best days I have ever had as a veteran. I have never had so many people care about me and my health in my life. But something really special happened to me just before I left on the bus, something I waited 43 years to hear. A fellow veteran was talking to me and I told him that over the years I never thought of myself as a veteran and never told anyone I was in the service because of my type of discharge out of respect for those that went to Vietnam. And he told me that he considered me a Vet and always would. For the first time in all these years I now was free from my chains of guilt. I am now proud to be a veteran and I have Stand down to thank for this honor, thank you and I look forward to next year and playing dominoes again with Patti and breaking our tie.
With deepest thanks,
Brian S, Veteran, St. Petersburg
The original Stand Down for homeless veterans was modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations. 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 Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being.
That is the purpose of Operation Stand Down for homeless and at-risk veterans, and achieving those objectives requires a wide range of support services and time. Our program is successful because it brings these services to one location, making them more accessible to homeless and at risk veterans.