‘Stand Down’ event offers a hand-up for veterans

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Larence Kirby, who spoke last week at Dover Air Force Base’s Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Retreat Ceremony, said this Friday’s event provides a big help in matching veterans with assistance they might need, whether it be health services, employment assistance or even dental care. (Delaware State News file/Marc Clery)

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Larence Kirby, who spoke last week at Dover Air Force Base’s Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Retreat Ceremony, said this Friday’s event provides a big help in matching veterans with assistance they might need, whether it be health services, employment assistance or even dental care. (Delaware State News file/Marc Clery)

DOVER — The annual Delaware Veterans’ Stand Down event is an opportunity to provide a hand-up to Delawareans who have served in the military.

This year’s Delaware Veterans Stand Down event, celebrating its 10th year, promises even more growth and assistance for veterans, particularly those who are homeless or struggling, to receive help from a wide-array of organizations.

It will take place at the Walter L. Fox American Legion Post No. 2, located at 835 South Bay Road in Dover, on Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Elizabeth Byers-Jiron, executive director of Delaware Veterans “Stand Down,” said the event has grown immensely since its inception a decade ago.

That’s not so hard to believe, considering there are more than 78,000 veterans who reside in the state.

Ms. Byers-Jiron said when they first started holding the event 10 years ago there were about 25 veterans who attended. Last year, the attendance approached 1,000 veterans and the service organizations that provide assistance has grown in step with the event.

“The growth has been amazing,” she said. “We’re looking for this year’s ‘Stand Down’ to be even bigger and better for the veterans.

Elizabeth Byers-Jiron

Elizabeth Byers-Jiron

“This event continues to grow each year in attendance and service providers who have said that they truly enjoy attending and lending a hand up to so many for a single day and providing the access to the many resources that Delaware has to offer.”

Larence Kirby, executive director of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, said the event provides a big help in matching veterans with assistance they might need, whether it be health services, employment assistance or even dental care.

“The Stand Down event is a gathering of veterans from throughout the state and there are various organizations present to mirror-up veterans with different organizations that may be able to help them,” Mr. Kirby said.

“There will be representatives from several different organizations at the event to talk to veterans, including Veterans’ Affairs, employment agencies, VA hospitals and a bunch of other different nonprofit organizations. This helps put veterans in touch with people who might be able to provide some assistance to them.”

Transportation will be provided to the Delaware Veterans Stand Down event from 11 different locations scattered throughout the state, including Wilmington, Smyrna and Georgetown.
Upon arrival to Walter L. Fox American Legion Post No. 2, veterans will be provided a continental breakfast and a ceremony welcoming them.

Veterans will then have the opportunity to undergo health screenings, such as diabetic testing, blood pressure readings and to register for services, including counseling and family services, offered throughout the area.

The veterans will also be offered haircuts, dental assistance, warm clothing and a hot lunch.

The first Veterans Stand Down took place in San Diego, California, in 1988. The inaugural event was held for homeless veterans only and was modeled after the process followed as soldiers left combat situations.

At the same, soldiers were taken to a secure military base where they were provided with clean uniforms, received warm meals and also were given dental and medical care.
The event has since taken off and grown nationally and is now a decade-old in Delaware.

“The best way to describe it is just a chance to provide some assistance to veterans,” Mr. Kirby said. “Not all veterans have an easy road so this is an opportunity and that’s always a good thing.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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