Pro Bono News
Stand Down Helps Meet Veterans' Needs (OR)
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
- Newport News Times
Stand Down Helps Meet Veterans' Needs
"NEWPORT — The sixth Lincoln County Veterans Stand Down was held at the Shilo Inn in Newport on Friday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stand Down originated during the Vietnam War to create a safe retreat for combat units returning home. Troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, eat and get access to things like medical and dental care and clean clothes.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, Stand Down “afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being.”
That is the spirit and intent of the local event sponsored by the John Reed Veterans Foundation (JRVF). This year’s Newport Stand Down served 108 veterans — 11 of them identified as homeless and 30 or more at risk of being homeless, according to Jerry Flores, the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program specialist with the WorkSource Oregon office in Newport. Flores and Devin Whitaker, the veterans' service officer for Lincoln County, along with other committed community partners, put on the Stand Down each year.
“This isn’t charity,” Whitaker explained. The United States has a contract with the nation’s veterans. They held up their part of the contract, he said, and so the event and the represented agencies are working to hold up their part.
Veterans were able to access programs from the Internal Revenue Service, Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, Legal Aid Oregon and the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Human Services, all of which had a presence at the Stand Down, offering veterans assistance accessing benefits or otherwise trying to address their needs.
“I came down a few days ago,” said Bill Edsall, a Marine who served from 1963 to 1970. He was seeking legal services and housing. “I did five tours in ‘Nam,” Edsall said.
When asked if his country was meeting his needs, Edsall was thoughtful for a moment, and then he nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “They ‘bout done everything they can for me.”
Samaritan Medical Services and The Mobile Dental Clinic offered services to veterans. In fact, just before lunch, it was announced that two spots were available in the dental van..."