Stand Down event offers services for veterans

The Stand Down event starts with a continental breakfast and a ceremony welcoming veterans to the event.  (Submitted photo)

The Stand Down event starts with a continental breakfast and a ceremony welcoming veterans to the event. (File photo)

DOVER — Now in its ninth year, the annual Delaware Veterans’ Stand Down is expected to draw hundreds of veterans to Walter L. Fox Post No. 2 on Friday.

“We’re expecting about 700 to 1,000 veterans to come out,” said Deneen Behrens, secretary of Veterans’ Stand Down.

Veterans’ Stand Down is designed to provide community and administration services to all veterans in the area, especially those who are homeless.

Veterans are provided transportation to the American Legion post where they are provided a continental breakfast and a ceremony welcoming them.

Veterans then have the opportunity to undergo health screenings, such as diabetic testing, blood pressure readings and to register for services offered throughout the area. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Representatives from local VA hospitals are on hand to provide information on services offered, including counseling and family services.

In addition to the haircuts, dental and health screenings, this year’s Stand Down will provide legal service information, warm clothing and a hot lunch.

Ms. Behrens said the turnout among veterans has increased every year.

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Ms. Behrens said. “Last year about 550 veterans came out, but with Mayor Robin Christiansen’s Mayors Challenge to End veteran homelessness I think that’s the reason for the large increase this year.”

Veterans’ Stand Down events are held throughout the country, modeled after the original Stand Down concept created by two Vietnam veterans, Robert Van Keuren and Dr. Jon Nachison.

The first event was held in San Diego in 1988. The original event was held for homeless veterans only and was modeled after the process followed as warriors left combat situations.

At that time, soldiers were taken to a secure military base where they were provided with clean uniforms, enjoyed warm meals, while also receiving medical and dental care.

There they were provided the ability to care for personal hygiene, receive mail from home and enjoy the camaraderie of friends.

Brandt Tue, post commander of VFW Post 1207, said it’s a great feeling helping those veterans in need.

“It’s bittersweet because the bitter part is that they come back home and they’re homeless,” Mr. Tue said.

“The sweet part is that we’re doing something to help them or at least guide them to a point where they can do something better for themselves,” Mr. Tue added.

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