North Bay Stand Down Just the Beginning
Over 150 veterans and their family members were honored and helped by about 600 volunteers at this year’s North Bay Stand Down at the Dixon fairgrounds this past week. The Stand Down is a project of North Bay Operation Hand Up.
Such events have become one of the most effective tools to reach and help homeless and at risk veterans. It is a grassroots, community-based intervention program designed to address those veterans individual problems and rebuild their lives.
The Stand Down is just the beginning of the assistance given to the veterans. More of the work happens behind the scenes after the event ends. The goal of the Stand Down is to meet the veterans’ immediate needs, then get them lined up for continuing resources to become self-sufficient and on the way to mental and physical health.
The Stand Down provided everything from hair cuts to flu vaccinations; vision testing and dental care; new clothing to hand-made pillow cases; mental health counselling and trained comfort dogs; some good hot meals to a comfortable place to sleep for at least two nights; and legal assistance and DMV help.
Matt Decker (in the photo here) was on hand with “Larson” – a Golden Retriever trained specialty therapy dog to help calm vets during the event, and information on qualifying for highly trained Service Dogs.
Matt is a Clinical Directory with the Veterans Administration. Besides helping vets get Service Dogs, he helps veterans train their own dogs once a month at the Pet Park in the Cordelia area of Fairfield.
Matt works with the Paws for Purple Hearts program and can be reached at (707) 238-5950 or emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The program depends on private donations.
Joseph Moglia was at the Stand Down as an Outreach Coordinator for VA mental health services. Continuing help is available to vets for PTSD, Bereavement Counselling for families of deceased veterans, Military Sex Trauma victims, and more. He can be reached at (925) 433-3407.
There were VA health system present to help veterans enroll. For those who could not attend, they can still sign up on line at any VA clinic or hospital, or on-line at vets.gov. The form to use is VA-1010.
This was the 17th North Bay Stand Down, normally scheduled for the third week in October. The event is expensive to put on, and donations are constantly needed both for the Stand Down and for the other services provided by North Bay Operation Hand Up.
Over 600 volunteers helped with the event, with major financial assistance from numerous private businesses, government agencies and individuals.
To donate, volunteer or learn more, go the website: http://nbstanddown.org