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This is a term that a combat veteran understands. It is the order that comes after you've been through the hell of a patrol or a battle and you can finally put your weapon down, light up and collapse into a heap for a while.
In 1981 five Vietnam Veterans were members together in a group counseling session. They were struggling with their own war traumas and were angry over the lack of care and services that the VA made available to Vietnam veterans at that time. Their facilitator, former Army Chaplain Fr. William Mahedy, suggested that they turn their legitimate angers and frustrations into positive actions on behalf of their brother veterans. The result was that they founded an organization that would eventually become called the Veterans Village of San Diego that would serve their comrades who had fallen between the tracks and become homeless.
In 1988 they served some 650 homeless veterans. This year there will be more than 200 Stand Downs taking place all across the country. These Stand Down weekends bring these homeless veterans together into a military-like environment where they can experience the old feelings of comradeship again, get showers, haircuts, eat a few decent meals, and even get some counseling for alcohol and substance abuse.
More importantly, VVSD has grown over the years to include rehabilitation centers, housing units, sober living centers and newly built apartments called The Veteran OnPoint Apartments, which contain 16 three-bedroom, three bath units.
VVSD Stand Down weekends offer our homeless veterans the opportunity to come in off the streets for a while. Many are lucky enough to be taken into one or another of the many rehabilitation programs that they offer for both male and female veterans and their families. The lucky ones who get into these programs, and work hard to get their lives back together again, get training and eventually jobs that make them independent, responsible members of society once again.
This is a great program. It serves the homeless with personal dignity and professional care. When you click on the "Click Here to Donate: It's Free" button on the veteranssite.com this is one of the organizations you are supporting. The annual Stand Down is coming up and you can take an active part in helping to feed these men and women by clicking on that donation button every day. Please help us take care of our homeless veterans. Thank you, one and all.
If you want to do more, Veterans Village is currently taking applications for their 25th Annual Stand Down, taking place July 13-16, 2012. You can sign up to volunteer by clicking here.