The Macon Co. VFW Post #7135 gathered nearly $6,000 worth of donated money, coats, food, and personal items from Lafayette businesses and residents and took it down to the annual Operation Stand Down in Nashville last month. The event, which was held on Oct. 12-14 this year, was organized to serve honorably discharged homeless veterans.
Three Lafayette members—Sgt. Autry Dye, Cleopas Sloane, and Barbara Oliver—went as volunteers, carrying with them the donated items and representing Macon County amongst some 821 volunteers that were onsite.
They recently received this letter of thanks, which also goes out to all those who donated to the Operation Stand Down event:
Thank you for Helping 321 Veterans!
Because of your support, 321 Honorably Discharged Veterans (5 were women), received many services, care and lots of information during the 20th Annual Operation Stand Down Event, October 12 – 14, 2012. During these three days, each veteran had the opportunity to eat and sleep peacefully, get a haircut, go through a legal review and receive medical, dental, audiology, podiatry, and eye exam and treatment with follow-up appointments at the VA Medical Center as needed.
They received information and briefings from counselors and representatives from over 40 different social service agencies. They got immunization shots, ate throughout the day, watched movies, and got new clothes and a winter coat. They received briefings from trained counselors on employment training and benefits, their veteran benefits and got help filing various Veteran Benefit claims. They also listened to some great music, attended AA or NA 12-step meetings (every meeting was well attended).
They visited with a bunch of great folks who were truly interested in them, were served by caring, supportive Veteran Service Organization representatives, and ate a lot of delicious home cooked food, including some really lip-smackin’ good home cooked desserts. They were able to relax, read books, play games, get new reading glasses (did I mention eat a lot of food?), visit with other veterans, gather a lot of good information, and get a break from their normal day on the street or working temporary day labor jobs!
All of this was made possible because you cared—you gave and you got involved.
Some interesting statistics and information from this year’s 20th Annual Operation Stand Down event:
*250+ received employment tips, counseling and made appointments at the OSDN Office or a TN Career Center for further employment assistance.
*136 or 42% combat veterans: 5 – Korea, 106 – Vietnam, 33 – Desert Storm, 12 – Iraq/Afghan, 29 Other
*157 veterans received a wide range of medical services with follow-up appts at VAMC as needed
*100+ veterans received general employment related counseling and assistance
*123 veterans received VA Benefits Counseling, 72 new VA claims were filed!
*200+ veterans received legal assistance with various issues such as driver’s license, divorces and more.
*65+ veterans received new clothes, boots and a winter coat Sunday morning.
*321 veterans received new socks, underwear, t-shirts and a carry-on bag with other goodies.
*130 organizations contributed to the services and support for this year’s event.
*821 caring volunteers helped set up, served meals, registered veterans, provided security, passed out clothes, provided haircuts, provided administrative assistance, legal reviews, medical exams, conducted meetings, played games, talked with the veterans, and did whatever was needed AND cleaned up!
It continues to be a wonderful experience and privilege to be a part of such a great group helping veterans. Thank you!