Showing posts with label Stand Down. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stand Down. Show all posts

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Service groups team up for homeless veterans in Colorado

Local veteran services organizations come together to help homeless vets

FOX 21 News
Taylor Bishop
October 16, 2018
"I came close to losing my home a few times. This program was very near and dear to me because of what it has done for the community as well as me giving back to those that had given to me my whole life," said Littler.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Defending those who have defended our freedom, the 20th Annual El Paso County Homeless Veterans Stand Down took place Tuesday, at the Colorado Springs City Auditorium.

Close to 200 homeless veterans in the community got the chance to connect with employment, housing, and health services, all in one place.

Veterans in need were also given new clothing and flu shots for the coming winter season.

Brian Wess with the El Paso County Homeless Veterans Coalition said, "If you're living in the barracks and you have your meals, three a day, your focus is on training to kill the enemy. Your focus isn't on how to live your life and pay bills every day and it's a completely different skill set that a lot of them, if they go in at 18 or 19 years old, they don't necessarily get if they haven't gotten it from their parents growing up."

Twenty-two year Army veteran Mitchell Littler says it was the fellowship and camaraderie through the VFW that helped pull him out of tough times, which is why he's been using this event to give back to his fellow vets for the past four years.
go here for video

Friday, September 28, 2018

Panama City Florida Homeless Veterans Treated Like Part of Community

Community reaches out to help local homeless veterans
September 27, 2018

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Dozens of community groups, including CareerSource Gulf Coast, held a Stand Down Thursday in downtown Panama City.
"This is our 11th one that we've done and we've brought together maybe 50 or so organizations, state agencies, private businesses in the community," Director of Workforce Services for CareerSource Gulf Coast Lee Ellzey said.

It helps our local homeless veterans get back on their feet.

"They're giving out toiletries," Ellzey explained. "They're giving out clothes. They're giving out housing vouchers."

The Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs reported 2,789 homeless vets in Florida last year, and it hits close to home for Andrea Kennedy, a local homeless veteran.

"It's overwhelming in a good way and I'm blessed," she said.
read more here
From Panama City news Herald

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Stand Down Offered Veterans New Outlook With Glasses

Yesterday at the Cocoa National Guard Armory there was a Veterans Stand Down where veterans could receive the usual clothing, food and other services but this one also had Chiropractors and eye exams topped off with receiving glasses. Just amazing watching veterans have a small machine check their eyes so they could see better then end up walking out with glasses. If they could not provide the glasses on the spot, Dr. Bressette would make them for cost and the charity, Through the Eyes of Children, would cover it.
Bill Vagianos Ph.D 
Veterans Memorial Center

David A. Bressette LDO
Through The Eyes of Children

R. Norman Moody

The Patriot Project

Thursday, March 24, 2016

One Week After Stand Down Homeless Veteran And Child Have Home

Veteran single father living in shelter with toddler now has a home 
NBC 3 News Las Vegas 
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — A homeless veteran and his one-year-old daughter now have a place to call home. We first introduced you to them last week as they were getting some much-needed help.

Eric Jackson was pushing a stroller with his daughter Jerica inside, last week at the Veterans Stand Down event at Cashman Center. He was looking for a place to live. A week later, the army veteran is in his own apartment.
read more here

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Who Decided To Leave Vietnam Veterans Behind Again?

Who decides which veterans matter?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 15, 2014

A few days ago there was a day when all veterans were supposed to matter equally. Every year Veterans Day is November 11 and that doesn't change no matter what day of the week it falls on. Celebrations, events, parades and publicity happen during different days but their day is always the same.

When you actually think about it though, you'll notice that their "day" is everyday of the year. They will never stop being a veteran of the wars we send them to fight and of the nation they took a vow to defend.

No war has ever been "clean" without controversy but these men and women were not willing to die for anyone but those they were with and that, that is something no one can ever dispute. It is also the reason why the rest of the us are supposed to treat them differently. They are not like the rest of us but we benefit far more from them than they do from us.

Everything developed by the military for servicemen and women directly changed our lives. From battlefield medical practices giving us trauma surgeons, to prosthetic limbs allowing amputees to live more independent lives and psychiatrist treating survivors of war spawning teams of crisis intervention professionals rushing to treat survivors of traumatic events in our communities, it all came from them.

They were young. Most were not even 25 by the time their service came to an end. Gone for a year at a time, they had no clue how much would change in just 365 days. When they came home, everything looked the same in their neighborhoods. Their friends didn't change but they did. They could see the difference when they looked in the mirror.

As they waited for the day to come when they'd wake up the way they used to be, the day when they would enjoy the company of their old friends, doing what they always used to do, sadness set in. They began to understand they would never be the same kid they were out of high school before they put on their first pair of combat boots.

They fought for everything being done to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder yet they are the last to receive help to heal it. They are the last to receive acknowledgment from the press that their wounds have been carried longer while they have been left behind yet again.

"Never again will one generation
of veterans abandon another."
Vietnam Veterans of America motto

They came up with that motto because the older veterans didn't want anything to do with any of them. They knew what it felt like to be excluded from the one community they should have fit in with back home.
We were all young. We were all struggling and suffering in the bitter silence of what was happening from coast to coast as our veterans desperately tried to re-adjust to life back home. What other choice did we have? The media was only interested when one of our veterans were caught doing something wrong, usually because of PTSD and substance abuse to self-medicate what war did to them. Now there are Veterans Courts to address the OEF and OIF veterans issues instead of just locking them up. Now there are still millions of Vietnam veterans in jail for the same thing today's veterans are getting treatment for.

They fought for benefits to compensate their ability to care for themselves and their families yet today they wait the longest for claims to be approved and appeals to be decided as the largest percentage of veterans in the VA system.

They are the largest group of veterans in the homeless veterans population, highest group committing suicide and the majority of the patients in VA waiting rooms.

Who decided they do not deserved adapted homes donated to care for them and their families? Who decided they do not deserve the attention from charities popping up all over the country tugging at the public hearts? Who decided our families do not deserve the caregiver benefits to make life a little easier on us after decades of doing exactly what the younger families do?

We read a lot of great things happening to the younger families and think it is all absolutely wonderful but then we wonder who decides which young family matters and which young family are forgotten about, left to go day to day as best as they can without any help. One family given keys to a new home just for them while another family shows up at a Stand Down because they are facing being homeless and must wait for an adapted apartment because the veteran is also disabled.

Who decides all of this? How do reporters decide who gets attention and who does not?

It seems as if they are all reporting on combat and PTSD but few are talking about Vietnam veterans making everything possible while prolonging their own suffering probable simply because someone decided to leave them behind again.
This just keeps getting better. Reading an article on Secondary PTSD and flabbergasted.
Veterans Spouses Diagnosed With Secondary PTSD
"And now, spouses are showing up with those symptoms too"

Guess none of us suffered before PTSD made the news. Guess all this is band new to military/veteran families. Guess I never wrote the book on living with if for 18 years before 9-11.
"The depression came from me feeling alone," Molly said. "I am alone. No one is coming to help us."

No one is coming for them because no one came for us. We just did it ourselves for ourselves and now we're trying to help the new generation but they don't want to listen.

I've been thinking a lot about the newer groups like the IAVA and Wounded Warrior Project getting all the press coverage. Why? Do reporters understand that Vietnam Veterans had no other choice but to start their own group simply because they were not welcomed into the VFW, DAV or the American Legion? Older veterans wanted nothing to do with them when they came home. They were left alone.

They decided to fight for all veterans and not just themselves. For the generations who came before them and for whatever generations came behind them. Now they run the same groups that made them outcasts. If you think for a second they would abandon the OEF or OIF veterans, ask the Gulf War veterans they fought for.

We are all happy OEF and OIF veterans are getting more than our families did but it is a bitter victory. The price was paid for them ahead of time and now we get to wonder why we have been left behind all over again.

PTSD service dogs for new veterans. Caregivers compensation for new veterans. The list goes on yet it is the generation of Vietnam veterans suffering more and waiting longer.

Disabled Veteran and Family Face Homelessness

Veterans receive needed help during stand down event
Theresa Churchill
November 15, 2014

DECATUR – Confusion about how Jay Carlson was wounded in Iraq and whether as a National Guardsman he qualified for veterans benefits precipitated a downward spiral.

Now, he and his wife and her daughter face eviction from their two-bedroom house over what they describe as a dispute with their landlord over a broken water heater.

But dark clouds began to lift Friday as the Decatur couple found help they needed at the Salvation Army during an annual Veterans' Stand Down, co-sponsored by the Decatur Coalition for Veterans' Concerns and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Carlsons began the process of obtaining emergency housing until they can move into a handicapped-accessible apartment at North Street Commons for homeless military veterans.

“Thankfully, we got connected through our mental health counselor,” Ginger Carlson said. “With his (post-traumatic stress disorder), my husband definitely gets a little overwhelmed trying to sort through everything.”

Jay Carlson has been unable to walk since suffering a MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) infection after a bullet grazed his left leg.

Carlson, 43, was one of about 90 veterans who stopped by Friday's stand down, an event begun in 2009 in a church parking lot in conjunction with the community's Box City observance of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
read more here

Sunday, September 21, 2014

5,500 vets on the street in the Sunshine State

Jacksonville Officials See Population Of Homeless Vets Changing
Peter Haden
September 21, 2014
Volunteers assisted nearly 300 veterans at Jacksonville's Stand Down event Saturday.
Credit Peter Haden
Any trend in veteran homelessness will be seen in Florida. In 2013, officials counted more than 5,500 vets on the street in the Sunshine State-- 10 percent of all homeless vets in the nation. Only California had more.

Brian Richmond, 25, was discharged from the United States Air Force four years ago. He's been homeless for the last three and a half.

"My mom passed away. I ran out of money and couldn’t keep my house up, so had to sell it," he said. "So, I had to come out here - out to the streets."

He slept in a tent under a bridge in Jacksonville for two years. Then he got into the Sulzbacher Center - a transitional housing facility where he stays now.

Richmond was one of about 300 vets that came to the Veterans Stand Down Resource Fair Saturday at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds. They had access to medical and dental care, haircuts, clothes and help with legal issues.

It’s the 15th year in a row Jacksonville has hosted the Stand Down event.
read more here

If you care about homeless veterans, you may be interested in this as well.

Veterans housing initiative imperiled by Shinseki's resignation
But an estimated 50,000 veterans remain homeless, and Shinseki, the driving force behind the initiative, is now gone, forced to resign amid the department's health care scandal. There are concerns that Congress, despite bipartisan support in the past, will not continue to finance the program at its current level.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Veterans Stand Down: Here Comes the Judges

Veterans affairs: Judges volunteer at Stand Down to help vets with legal issues
Monterey Herald
By Dennis Taylor
July 4, 2014

At least nine judges from six California counties will be among dozens of volunteers on hand Aug. 1-3 at Stand Down, a three-day tent city offering free medical, legal, housing, education, life skills and other services to homeless veterans.

The event, staged every other year by the Veterans Transition Center, will be held at Fort Ord's motor pool location, Eighth Avenue and Lloyd Way, north of Giggling Road.

The judges, including Monterey County Superior Court Judge Sam Lavorato, will hold court sessions to help homeless veterans resolve outstanding cases. In many instances, the judge will assign the veteran community service. Once that obligation is completed, the judge may dismiss the case. Monterey College of Law may then assist the veteran with a motion to clear his or her record.

"Once an individual's record is cleared, then that person has more of an opportunity for obtaining a job," Lavorato said. "Hopefully, my presence will help make a veteran whole again."

Other judges who have confirmed they will be there include John Gallagher of Santa Cruz County, Judge Stephen Manley of Santa Clara County and John Grandsaert of San Mateo County. Fresno, Solano and Alameda counties also have expressed interest in sending judges.
read more here

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Military Operation in Tallahassee for homeless veterans

Stand Down For Homeless Veterans at North Florida Fairgrounds
By: Andy Alcock
Apr 04, 2014

There's a military operation underway at Tallahassee's North Florida Fairgrounds. That military operation isn't to fight a war... it's to fight poverty.

It's called the Stand Down for Homeless Veterans.

Across America, it's estimated 45,000 men and women who once wore our country's uniform are homeless.

This event is hoping to reduce that number in our own backyard.

At first glance, it looks like the military has set up camp at the North Florida Fairgrounds complete with barracks.

Only at this camp, it won't be active military bunking down for the weekend, it will be homeless veterans.

Calvin Melvin is marking a troublesome anniversary on this day.

Eleven years ago, the former roofer and Army veteran became homeless.

He lives in part through the generosity of strangers he hopes will look at his sign and give him money.
read more here

Friday, March 21, 2014

Upcoming Central Florida Veterans Events

From Cathy Haynes

More Veterans events for March and April

March event list #3 - Upcoming veterans, military, and patriotic events in Central Florida
Newly reported or info revised events.  Add these to the previous list of events sent Feb 28 and March 14.  If you need the previous lists, just let me know.
It’s SPRING!  Get out of Spring cleaning and honey-do’s by attending some of these events.  Goal: Try to attend at least one Honor Flight return; participate in at least one golf tournament or fund raising walk for the exercise and to enjoy the weather.  Also, try at least one other fun event that supports the veteran or military persons or causes in our communities.  Pay it back or Pass it forward.
If you wish to be removed from the email list, just let me know.
Please share these events with your friends and interested others and attend.  Post where appropriate.
Honor Flight Welcome Home – Sat. Mar 22 – After a day spent in Washington DC, 25 veterans of WWII and Korea return home thru Orlando Int’l Airport.   The single day will be spent visiting the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam War Memorials, Marine Corps Iwo Jima and the Air Force Monuments, and witnessing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The veterans and their assistants will return at about 9:15pm.  Come welcome these former warriors home! Bring your flags, banners and signs! Southwest Airlines #3281 from Baltimore-Washington (BWI), Terminal A, Airside 2 (hotel area in front of Starbucks.) Free parking has been arranged at an off airport property with free shuttle to airport - Contact Cathy Haynes for those details NLT 7pm  - 407-239-8468 

Brevard County Veteran Stand Down – Sat. Mar 22 - Services and information for veterans, especially homeless ones.  8am–2pm. National Guard Armory, 308 N. Fiske Ave, Cocoa, 32922.  Free services include medical, dental and eye exams, chiropractic, hearing, acupuncture, VA health care, VA claim services, social security and IRS help, haircuts, food and clothing and more.  Donated bikes to be given away.  Free SCAT bus service.  Contact Bill Vagianos 321-431-0364  or Kim Koplar  321-704-6712.
Veterans’ Birthday – Sun. Mar 23 - Mr. David Shulan will celebrate his 103rd birthday!  Yes, 1-0-3 years!  He served in WWII in the Army.  The Jewish War Veterans Post #475 will have a small coffee and cake reception in one of the social rooms at 2pm in his honor at his residence, Kinneret Apartments, 515 Delaney Ave., Orlando, 32801.  Cards might be appreciated by him to honor his service to our country!  FYI – he still drives his car!  May we all be so lucky!
Salute to Villages Honor Flight – Fri. March 25 - Villages Parrot Heads and Cody’s Original Roadhouse sponsor this as a fundraising event. The event at Cody’s starts at 4:00 pm is open to the public, music and food provided and admission is only $5.00. 1041 Lake Shore Drive, Lady Lake, 32162.   Info: under “Fundraisers”.
Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day – Mon. March 31 – Mayor Buddy Dyer, along with Orlando City Commissioners, will issue a Proclamation to commemorate this event.  Two years ago the federal government established March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. Last year, Florida Governor Rick Scott and the State Legislature also named it in Florida. The Orlando City Council meets on Monday, March 31 and since March 30 is on a Sunday this year, the commemoration will be made on Monday.  All veterans, but especially Vietnam Veterans are encouraged to attend in the City Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of Orlando City Hall at 2:00 PM.  400 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801
Heroes Commons Kick-off Reception – Wed. April 2 – Special project of a 6 unit housing area for disabled first responders, veterans and their families sponsored by the Florida Real Estate Foundation and the City of Orlando.  5:30 pm reception at the Citrus Club, Free but prior registration is requested for food planning.  255 S Orange Avenue Ste. 1800, Downtown Orlando. Feel free to share this with your organizations.  Contact Mary Mula at 407.513.7277
Army Reserve Fundraising Golf Tournament – Fri. April 4 – Preparations are underway to welcome home hundreds of Army Reservists of the local 143rd ESC from Kuwait and Afghanistan.  Headquarters are based here in Orlando.  The Sustainment Command’s Family Readiness Group needs some monies in preparation for the celebratory return of their loved ones who have been gone for just under a year.  18 Hole Shotgun start, Individual sign ups welcomed  and $260/4 person teams includes lunch, individual and team awards.  Long drive, closest to pin and more. Hole Sponsorships WELCOMED!  Ventura Country Club at 333 Woodgate Blvd. Orlando, 32822.  Contact Mr. Aurelio Gomez  407-878-8191  
CFNL Wounded Warrior and Lone Sailor 5K/10K  and Monument Groundbreaking – Sat. Apr 5 – Central Florida Navy League sponsors this event at Blue Jacket Park, site of the former Orlando Navy Training Base in Orlando.  From 1968 to 1998 hundreds of thousands of enlisted Navy personnel went thru their basic training, some apprenticeships and technical school training here.  It was the site of nuclear power training for both officers and enlisted personnel and at one time was the only location for basic training of enlisted women.  The Lone Sailor Monument will commemorate the lives and careers started in Orlando’s rich Navy community.  The Run/Walk/Roll event will start at 7:30 am.  Lone Sailor Memorial Groundbreaking Ceremony will follow the race.  2501 General Rees Ave, Orlando, 32814.  See  and  for details.  Info:  Chris Townsend at 407.230.3333
Special Guest at UCF Book Festival – Sat. April 5 – CFE Arena on UCF (University of Central Florida) campus, 12777 Gemini Blvd N, Orlando, FL 32816.  Book Festival times: 9-3:30pm.  Free admission, free parking.   In addition to the wide range of book interests and their authors who will be at this event, one will be special guest of UCF Veterans Academic Resource Center – VARC.  Army Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván is the author of “A Soldier and His Dog: A Story of Love and Healing.” Physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress from service in Iraq created numerous life challenges.  With the help of Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled, they found salvation in each other.  Capt. Montalvan and Tuesday will be reading to young ones about service dogs in the special children’s event from 11-11:30.  He will be guest speaking from 1-2pm followed by book signing until 3pm.  Event open to the public.  Info at  or Rich Sloane,   407-823-2465.
2014 Brevard Law Ride – Sat. April 5 - The Law Ride serves as a remembrance of our Fallen Law Enforcement Officers, a fundraiser for charities that support their families and provides funding to both the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and American Police Hall of Fame.  Registration starts at 7:30am, kick stands up at 10:30am at American Police Hall of Fame and Museum, 6350 Horizon Dr, Titusville, 32780.   Lunch, entertainment, raffles, vendors.  Info: Alan Rainey  321-794-6084
Spring Festival Pig Roast – Sat. April 5 - American Legion Auxiliary Pine Castle Memorial Unit 286 "Working Together as ONE" proudly announce that the Sons of American Legion Squadron 286 is having a Pig Roast from 3-6 pm at 529 E. Fairlane Ave., Orlando,32809 (South Orlando; off S. Orange Ave. north of Sand Lake Road.)  The meal of yummy pulled pork, beans and cold slaw for $7.00 is prepared by the “Smoking DD’s” with live country and western entertainment by “Jeremy.”   The event is open to the public and family friendly.  Join us to support veterans, community, and children programs.  407-859-1460.
Broadway Musical “Cabaret” – Tues-Sat Apr 8-12-  KC Productions will present this musical at the Savannah Center, 1575 Buena Vista Blvd, The Villages, 32164. The proceeds from this event will be shared with Villages Honor Flight. Savannah Center contact: (352) 753-2270.   For details and ticket availability see under “Fundraisers”.
Central Florida Marine Corps Foundation Golf Tournament – Fri. April 11 - Stoneybrook East Golf Club,  2900 Northampton Avenue, Orlando, 32828.   8 am start time, lunch and more.  This annual fund raiser is open to all and supports the scholarship program and military families in distress.  Discounted cost if payment is made prior to April 1.  Info:  or Jim Hawn at 757-646-3937
Stand Down in Seminole County – Sat. Apr 12 - 9am – 1pm  Services and information for veterans, especially homeless ones.  Florida Dept. of Health in Seminole County, 400 West Airport Blvd, Sanford, 32773.  Volunteers, service providers and products will be needed.  Contacts:  Ed Burford, Sem. Co. VSO (Veterans Service Officer) at 407-665-2371;  HCHV Outreach Social Workers at 407- 429-8628  or 407-234-2272; or Sean Gibbs of Homeless Services Network of Central FL, 407-893-0133  
Home at Last Ground Breaking – Sat. April 12 - 10am. The location is on North Cross Street in Oakland, 34760.  This will be the sixth Home at Last project honoring a combat-wounded veteran of the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Marine Sgt. Stephen Tovet and his wife, Krystina, will receive a specially planned home from the West Orange Habitat for Humanity special project Home At Last.   Sgt. Tovet was born in Orlando, FL and grew up in Apopka.  Stephen and Krystina were Apopka High School sweethearts.  An IED blast during his Afghanistan service in 2011 resulted in loss of his left leg, part of a hand and multiples surgeries to reconstruct the hand and his lower right leg.  Fund raising efforts will continue thru the year.  Checks or money orders should be made payable to West Orange Habitat for Humanity and mailed to: P.O. Box 38, Oakland, FL 34760. Please be sure to indicate your contribution is for "Home at Last 2014."  POC: Bill Criswell - 407-876-2472
Honor Flight Welcome Home – Sat. April 12 – After a day spent in Washington DC, 25 veterans of WWII and Korea return home thru Orlando Int’l Airport.   The single day will be spent visiting the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam War Memorials, Marine Corps Iwo Jima and the Air Force Monuments, and witnessing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The veterans and their assistants will return at about 9:45pm.  Come welcome these former warriors home!  Bring your flags, banners and signs! Southwest Airlines #1205 from Baltimore-Washington (BWI), Terminal A, Airside 2 (hotel area in front of Starbucks.) Free parking has been arranged at an off airport property with free shuttle to airport - Contact Cathy Haynes for those details NLT 7pm  -  407-239-8468.
President’s Speakers Series - Mon, April 14 - Guest speaker Jason C. Redman, highly decorated former Navy SEAL and author.  He will be spreading his message of life, inspiration and shedding light on the sacrifices that enable the freedoms of our country. Hosted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University President and CEO, Dr. John P. Johnson.  7pm at Lemerand Auditorium, Willie Miller Instructional Ctr., 600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach, 32114.  386-226-6350 for more information. Free and open to the public.
Veterans Appreciation Day – Tues. April 15 -  Celebrating veterans at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Ceremony at the West Lawn 11:30 - 12:30.  Formation by Embry-Riddle ROTC units, Opening remarks by Dr. John P. Johnson, University President/CEO; Keynote Address by Jason C. Redman, author and former Navy SEAL.  Missing Man Table Ceremony, Free BBQ lunch following the ceremony; Parking in the Armstrong/Falcon Lot.  600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach, 32114.   Contact Embry-Riddle Military & Veterans Enrollment and Transition Services at 386-226-6350 for more information.  Free and open to the public.
Student Veteran Resource Fair – Wed Apr 16 – 10am – 2pm, Student Union, Market Day Area at UCF.  4000 Central Florida Blvd. Orlando, 32816.  Hosted by Student Veterans of America at the University of Central Florida.   Includes Orlando Vet Center and the Mobile Vet, Orlando VAMC VITAL Program, UCF PTS Clinic, Veteran Academic Resource Center, Florida DVA Veteran Service Officer to answer Benefits and Claim questions.
Honor Flight Central Florida Welcome Home – Sat. April 26 – After a day spent in Washington DC, a LARGE group of 75 veterans of WWII, Korea and other service eras return home thru SANFORD Int’l Airport – north of Orlando.   The single day will be spent visiting the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam War Memorials, Marine Corps Iwo Jima and the Air Force Monuments, and witnessing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.  The veterans and their assistants will return at about 9:40 pm.  This is a chartered flight thru Allegiant Airline and it may arrive slightly early.  The VFW band (26 pieces) will play patriotic music beginning at 9pm.  Come welcome these former warriors home in what can be described as an indoor ticker tape parade! Bring your flags, banners and signs! Sanford Int’l Airport:  1200 Red Cleveland Blvd, Sanford, 32773.
Honor Flight Welcome Home – Sun April 27 – After a day spent in Washington DC, a large group of 50 veterans of WWII, Korea and other service eras return home thru Orlando Int’l Airport.   The single day will be spent visiting the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam War Memorials, Marine Corps Iwo Jima and the Air Force Monuments, and witnessing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.  The veterans and their assistants will return at about 9:00 pm.  Come welcome these former warriors home!  Bring your flags, banners and signs! Southwest Airlines #4092 from Baltimore-Washington (BWI), Terminal A, Airside 2 (hotel area in front of Starbucks.) Free parking has been arranged at an off airport property with free shuttle to airport - Contact Cathy Haynes for those details NLT 7pm  -  407-239-8468 
Medal of Honor Recipient Recognition – Fri. May 2 – Sponsorships Welcomed!  WWII Marine veteran Hershel Williams and recipient of Medal of Honor will be recognized in our community. He was involved in the battle on Iwo Jima that earned him the MOH – he is the last surviving recipient from the service on that island.  In addition, he is one of only 2 WW2 MOH Marines living.  The other noble Marine is in very frail health.  Plans for the day include a law enforcement escort from Orlando Int’l Airport to a Meet and Greet at the Museum of Military History. 12 noon – 1pm at 5210 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, 34746.  The evening highlights with a fundraising dinner (6pm – 10pm) and 40 minutes of Mr. Williams speaking.  Other MOH recipients are attending. Cocktails, live entertainment and catered dinner at The Pines in Windermere.  Special commemorative cigars to be made on site.  $150 per plate with proceeds going to several organizations - including the Hershel "Woody" Williams Foundation that will build a monument in honor of Gold Star Families.  (FYI - Before his enlistment, at age 15 Mr. Williams drove a taxi that also delivered telegrams from the War Department to casualty families.  It left him touched with what happens on the porches of the home front.)  Tables/sponsorships for the dinner are available.  Event flyer is available.  Contact Ron Mathis  407.894.5740
Win This Gun Fundraiser – Drawing on May 3 – Only 1000 tickets to be sold at $10 each.  Prize:  AR15 style 5.56mm semi-automatic rifle which comes with one (1) 30 round magazine and a 6x32 scope by UTG.  Sponsored by Caretakers ME (501(c)(3))for assisting various organizations.  Past assistance given to Kid’s House of Seminole, Boys Town of Oviedo, Sentinels of Freedom, KISS (Kids In Support of Soldiers), Korean War Veterans, JOSH (Just Our Soldiers Helpers) among others.  Tickets on sale from any Caretaker member, call/text Magi at 407.340.9780 or Shaun at 407.312.3754 for further info.  Drawing will be held the day of our Poker Run (fun motorcycle and other vehicle ride) - May 3rd - American Legion - Post 183 - 2706 Wells Ave., Fern Park.  Winner need not be present to win.
7th Annual Memorial/National Armed Forces Ride and Event – Sat. May 17 – Motorcycle/vehicle ride starts by Police escort at American Legion Post 101 and goes to the National Cemetery in Bushnell in commemoration of Armed Forces Day.  9am Registration ($15Driver or Non-rider, $10 Passenger.) Legion breakfast available. Ride ends at Stormy Hill Harley-Davidson, 2480 S Hwy 17, Clermont.  Activities, Big engine, Food, entertainment and more!  Everyone is welcome to the event!  Proceeds benefit Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and First 200 registerd receive “Freedom Isn’t Free” event T-shirt, lunch ticket, event bag, and raffle ticket. Registration online at   Sponsors , Vendors, or Info POC: Peggy 352-787-8050 x 21
Previous shared upcoming events - If you missed the info earlier this month and need it again, let me know:
USMC Sgt. Mecot Camara Fence Installation – Sun. Mar 30
Operation Giveback Golf Tournament – Fri. Apr 25
Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion in Melbourne – May 1 – 4
The Military Edge Inaugural "Armed Forces Day" Golf Tournament – Sat. May 17
4th Annual Pars & Stripes Forever Golf Tournament - Fri, May 30,
American Legion, Dept of FL Annual Convention – June 12-15
Army Rangers Breakfast - First Sat of each month
EXTRAS of Interest:  - “A one stop resource for ALL veterans nationwide who are transitioning from military to civilian life.”  There are resources for all veterans, postings for new benefits, jobs, and more!
FREE Legal Information Seminars – multiple dates – Space Coast Community Law School is offering FREE seminars that discuss a variety of topics and are presented by lawyers and judges.  Thursday evenings from 6pm – 8pm in the school Jury Assembly Room. 
March 27 - Debt & Credit Card Defense;     April 3 – Firearms;     April 10 - Wills, Trusts, & Probates;     April 17 - Auto Accidents from Beginning to End;     April 24 - The First Amendment
Location:  Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Justice Center, 2825 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, 32940. (East coast of Florida)   Pre-registration requested to assure enough handouts.  321-269-6833.
Memorial Day - Groups are starting to think about planning ceremonies for Memorial Day.  Please consider coordinating them together or staggering event times.  Many people are interested in attending more than one and cannot because of time overlaps.  More people would be able to attend – strength in numbers.  Communicate your event info with your city and county veterans’ councils.
Caring and sharng,
Cathy Haynes
Member/supporter of numerous veteran and military organizations in Central FL

Sunday, October 27, 2013

VA didn't have funding for flu shots for homeless veterans

No flu shots
There were plans for free flu shots, but Veterans Administration hospitals in Milwaukee and North Chicago, Ill., backed out on Friday, said Derrell Greene, Kenosha County Veterans Services officer. He said at least several veterans walked out when they were told the shots wouldn’t be given.

“It was a big disappointment to us” that the hospitals didn’t participate, he said.

Hospital officials said they didn’t have the funding to take part, although the event was operated mostly by volunteers, Greene said.

Veterans get aid at Saturday event
Kenosha News
October 26, 2013

The choice for Edward Pavlovich is rent or an electric scooter.

The Racine resident, who served in the U.S. Army First Cavalry between 1973-75 at Fort Hood, attended the Homeless Stand Down and Veterans Benefits Expo at the Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Road, on Saturday hoping to find financial help for getting the $712 scooter.

He has a heart condition, a pacemaker and spine and leg problems.

“If I could walk everywhere all day, I would,” said Pavlovich, who is on Social Security disability. “But I can’t. I just hobble, and I’m in pain, and it’s miserable. I just don’t want to be cooped up at our apartment when my wife is not there.

“Maybe I’ll have to go without paying my rent in November and cut out some bills so I can pay for it.”

The Kenosha/Racine Veterans Services Office sponsored the annual event for all veterans and family members. It included free haircuts, legal assistance, job searches and information on education, the property tax credit, housing and aid to needy veterans.
read more here

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ex-homeless veteran says "My community truly loves their veterans"

Homeless, not hopeless: 'My community truly loves their veterans'
By Tom Adams
Published: Oct 25, 2013

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Marine Corps veteran Reagan Clark arrived in Lane County 8 months ago, homeless and without much hope.

But thanks to a veterans housing voucher program, he's doing much better.

"It's great to have a roof over your head, and I think it's something that we should strive to do for all veterans," Clark said.

That's the spirit of the Lane County Stand Down, an event where veterans could get a free haricut, some clothing and information about services and programs available to men and women who have served their country available from 64 veteran and social service agencies.
go here for more

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hundreds of homeless veterans attend Stand Down in Orlando

Event aims to battle homelessness among local veterans
Sept. 28, 2013

Red shirts are buddy volunteers staying with the veterans to make sure they get what they need
ORLANDO, Fla. — Hundreds of local veterans attended the 2013 Orlando Stand Down event on Saturday, which was aimed at eliminating homelessness among veterans.

Saturday's event was held by the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center and local organizations that assist homeless individuals and families.

Hundreds of veterans showed up for the 2013 Orlando Stand Down at the recreation center on W. Livingston Street. Lynx provided free transportation to veterans who needed a ride to the event, where more than 300 veterans were expected.

"We're just looking to help them out, and help them connect with some of the service providers and connect with some of the VA benefits that they can enroll for," Sean Gibbs with the Homeless Services Network said.
read more here

Saturday, September 28, 2013

200+ Homeless Triad Veterans to Get Free Services in North Carolina

200+ Homeless Triad Veterans to Get Free Services
Meghann Mollerus
Good Morning Show
Sep 27, 2013

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- More than 200 homeless veterans in the Triad can get free health care and other assistance Friday at the eighth Triad Stand Down event at Westover Church on 505 Muirs Chapel Road.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, veterans can receive a wide range of services, including haircuts, hot meals, showers and clothing. They also can receive assistance with benefits or claims, locating permanent housing and legal advice. Dental, eye and health screenings, as well as educational support, also will be available.

"Last year, we served 240 homeless veterans. That was up 30 percent from the prior year. Each year, we see an increase, and I'm hoping it's just because veterans know more about our services, and the problem's not getting worse. But, I'm hoping people would come out, so we can kind of break that cycle of homelessness," said Servant Center executive direcor Shanna Reece.
read more here

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stressed out volunteers for veterans need Stand Down too!

Stressed out volunteers for veterans need Stand Down too!
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
May 18, 2013

The first post today is about 5 hours late because I just got back from the Sanford Stand Down for veterans. The wonderful thing is there were more volunteers than veteran needing help, so no one had to wait. For volunteers, that was also the bad part.

The area I was assigned to didn't have many veterans needing their services, so there was plenty of time to talk to other volunteers. Most of us felt the same way. We were there to help veterans because we not only care, most of us have a personally connection, either as veterans or family members.

We talked about our lives, joys and struggles. That is the reason for this post before I check the rest of my emails and go take a nap. I've been up since 5:00.

As I watched the veterans get matched with a Battle Buddy they were given something good to eat for breakfast, shown where to go for what they needed, taken to where the showers were and get a hair cut along with clean clothes, boots and some personal needs items, all donated by caring groups and businesses.

These veterans went from feeling as if no one cared to feeling as if they belonged and mattered. The expressions on their faces lifted as their mood did. The volunteers were smiling just knowing that they made the difference.

My mood changed too. I started the day out in a bad mood feeling as if I had one of the worst jobs in the world because with a 70 hour week, my bank account if pretty much empty already and month is only half over. I had to worry about having enough gas in my car to get me to the Stand Down and back. In other words, totally feeling sorry for myself even though I have a nice house, a car, food to eat and clothes to wear.

Then I was looking at the line of volunteers also managing to get up before the sun to show up and help someone else expecting nothing in return other than to do for the sake of someone else.

We talked about what they did in their lives and what their hopes and dreams were. One young man was an Air Force veteran and he was there to volunteer because a lot of his buddies knew what it was like to feel abandoned. A volunteer did it because her husband is a veteran and another one never thought of doing anything else but helping veterans.

These people are truly remarkable. The time they put in is as fabulous as the love they feel.

They totally changed my mood and I felt blessed just to meet them. It also reenforced the fact that helpers are the last people to ask for help. It happens all the time. When you are "doer" it is hard to become the person someone else does for.

When I talked to the Air Force Veteran, we were talking about the most stressful jobs. He said top of the list are enlisted personnel and then brass because they had to be the ones to give the orders that could mean life or death. Then Police Officers, Firefighters and emergency responders.

I asked him if he knew what was even more stressful but often goes unnoticed. I told him it was the ones who care for all of the above.

We tend to be the most stressed and because of that, burn out fast unless we also have support behind us. I happen to have a lot of people I can (and often do) call on for emotional support. All of us need that. Sure we need financial support so we can keep a roof over our own heads, food in our bellies and gas in our tanks to get us from one place to another but those needs are obvious.

We need our own support team showing up to be our Battle Buddies when we get lost, worn out and torn down so we can get back to what we do best but as hard as it is to ask for help, it is harder for other people to even think about our need to be helped.

Because of what I do and the events I travel to, I've seen all kinds of groups all dedicated to veterans and most of them do not receive enough support financially or emotionally. There needs to be a Stand Down for us. A place where we can be fed and taken care of even for just a little while, where we know we do matter and someone cares.

To have someone ask us what we need and then help us find it instead of just assuming we don't need anything. I once had a business man say to someone about me that "She's always asking for help and if she was any good, she would get what she needs." pretty much the same way some people see a homeless veteran and just assume they want to be homeless and "get handouts" so they just ignore them. (Yep people still think that way.) But I am not unique. All the volunteers I talked to this morning are going through the same things. Stress! Stress of knowing what we do matters but not having anything to help us do it. Stress of doing what we do knowing how great the need is while no one seems to notice how great our own needs are.

Smarter heads out there in Orange and Seminole County Florida need to figure out a way to start taking care of the doers or we'll end up joining those in need waiting for someone to help us but there won't be anyone there.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Orlando area veteran's events from Cathy Haynes

UPDATES for Orlando area veteran's events from Cathy Haynes

Veterans Outreach Foundation, Inc. (VOF) is hosting their 2nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament to benefit the Haley House Fund, Inc. of Tampa. Sat. May 18. The fund provides assistance for temporary housing and transportation to families of critically wounded service members being treated at the James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa – one of only five military Polytrauma Rehabilitation Units in the country. Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge (Panther Lake Course). 7am registration, 8:30am tee time, 4-man scramble, shotgun start, $100 per player. On-course events include farthest drive, closest-to-pin, and hole-in-one with a grand prize of a 2013 Honda Accord! Sponsorships are available, 100% of proceeds benefit the charity. Entry fee includes golf, lunch, giveaways, and entry to silent auction. For more information or to register a foursome, contact Brandan Holbrook at 407-437-5922 or email

I am volunteering at this. Are you?
Seminole County Homeless Veterans’ Stand Down on Sat. May 18, (Armed Forces Day) at the Seminole County Health Department. Stand Downs typically provide services such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling; as well as referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment. Volunteer registration can be found on their website at HSNCFL. 400 W. Airport Blvd. Sanford.

6th Annual Memorial/National Armed Forces Day Event and Freedom Ride – Sat. May 18; Activities begin at 10am at Stormy Hill Harley-Davidson at 2480 U.S. 27, Clermont, 34711. $10pp tickets benefitting DAV. Live music, free lunch and “Freedom Isn’t Free” event pin to first 300 who register. See website for list of events. Ribbon signing which will be placed on wreath, at abt. 2pm Police escorted Freedom Ride to Bushnell National Cemetery for patriotic ceremony. Bring unwanted cell phones to donate to Wounded Warriors Outdoors. Stormy Hill Harley, click ‘News and Events’ or call Peggy at 352-787-8050 or cell 352-267-3190

Vietnam Veterans Recognition Celebration – Sat. May 18. Parade starts at 10am on Main Street Main Street and Disston Avenue, Tavares, 32778 in Lake County. Recognition and Honor Ceremony at 12noon in Wooten Park – notable keynote speaker is Capt. Charlie Plumb, USN(R) - a POW in Vietnam for six years. Info on website: POC: George Wanberg at 352-250-9728 Free and Sponsors welcomed!!!

The Museum of Military History in honor of Armed Forces Day presents their first annual Military Appreciation Weekend on Sat. and Sun., May 18 and 19 at Mac Overstreet Regional Park, 5271 Pleasant Hill Rd., Kissimmee, 34746. (South of Kissimmee on Co Rd 531) The event will be highlighted by a WWII battle re-enactment and weapons demonstration on Saturday. Local historian and re-enactor will attend in Civil War uniform to share information about the war that almost divided our country. Sunday: The 463rd Cadet Squadron Civil Air Patrol and Sea Cadet units will present the colors and participate in competitive events. Also a special concert of WWII and USO era music by the Bahia Dance Band. The program opens at 9am on Sat. and is open to the public. Admission is free but there is a parking fee of $7 to offset event expenses. Food vendors, booths, radio controlled airplane demonstrations, displays, and children’s activities will be available both days. Details: 407-507-3894

3rd Annual Pars and Stripes Forever Golf Tournament Camaraderie Foundation MONDAY May 20 at the Country Club of Orlando, 1601 Country Club Dr., Orlando, 32804. Assist our current military, veterans and their families through mental health support and counseling. Currently, Camaraderie has 59 people getting active counseling assistance. These are active duty personnel, veterans, spouses and their children seeking to strengthen troubled areas in their lives such as adjusting to home from the battlefield, Post Traumatic Stress and other issues. The organization gives scholarships to these brave families to assist them quicker/more timely than other resources. 407-841-0071