Stand Down event lends a hand to homeless veteransEdit
By KEVIN HOWEHerald Staff WriterPosted: 06/19/2012 02:12:35 PM PDTUpdated: 06/20/2012 11:35:49 AM PDT
A "stand down" in military lingo means a time for troops to come in out of the field, to a firebase where they can get showers, clean clothes, medical attention, hot chow and a few nights' sleep on a cot.
That's what Monterey County's first Stand Down 2012 is all about: a chance for the county's homeless veterans to come in off the streets and regroup in a clean, safe, friendly, familiar-looking environment, said Tom Griffin, county military and veterans services officer.
Stand Downs are collaborative events held across the country and coordinated between local VAs and other government agencies. The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam veterans in San Diego.
The local Stand Down started Tuesday and continues through Thursday at the Salinas Sports Complex, which has been turned into something replicating a firebase or forward operating base to feed, clothe and shelter homeless vets.
Boots, shoes and clothing, new and used, were passed out Tuesday to more than 200 veterans — along with prepackaged toiletry kits and small duffel bags containing new socks and underwear — as they came in the gate.
Volunteer Kevin Moore of Salinas, a civilian employee at the Presidio of Monterey, said she worked as a civilian in Vietnam, belongs to Vietnam Veterans of Monterey County and wanted to do something for the vets on the street.