NORTH BEND — The Veterans Stand Down event helped 400 veterans last year and is back to help even more on Friday.
The annual event is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 16 in Hangar 1 at the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport. Hangar 1 is behind the American Legion offices, which is located at 1421 East Airport Way in North Bend.
“The Patriot Guard riders are coming in five minutes before 9 a.m., which is pretty cool to watch,” said Carol Gardner, co-lead organizer for the event.
After the Patriot Guard rides in, the Salvation Army is hosting breakfast and then the Ladies Auxiliary from Coquille is hosting lunch to whoever walks in for the Stand Down.
“We have different businesses providing food and one is even providing a refrigerator,” Gardner said.
The Veterans Stand Down brings together veteran service representatives, organizations and employers together in one place to provide information, help and jobs to veterans in need.
“Right when people walk in, we have the vet center that tries to get everyone registered to know what resources they are interested in,” Gardner said. “The Waterfall Clinic is also going to be there giving overall checkups and a veterinarian who provides certain things for service animals.”
Veterans can also get a vision and hearing checkups and see a dentist. All services are offered for free during the Stand Down.
“We had one dentist about three years ago pull 22 teeth during the event,” Gardner said.
Not only that, but four hairdressers are attending the Stand Down to give free haircuts.
“A portion of veterans are homeless and many come up together in vans from other counties for the event,” Gardner said. “Some might need a bed or a dresser, help dealing with red tape to get services they need. A lot of veterans won’t enter a government building because of the frustration and stress it can bring, but will go to the Stand Down.”
Though last year’s Stand Down helped 400 veterans, 1,000 veterans attended and of those helped 53 were homeless. Because there are veterans who attend the Stand Down seeking help to get off the streets, the event also offers them a chance to clean up by providing free rides from the event to the Nancy Devereux Center in Coos Bay for free showers.
Veterans from around the community attend the eighth annual Veterans Stand Down at the Southwestern Oregon Regional Airport in 2017.
“The Stand Down has a lot of networking,” Gardner said. “There’s no cost to anyone. We want all veterans to come, particularly if they’re homeless so we can give them good connections. Though 53 identified as homeless last year, you know there were more in the crowd who didn’t reach out but at least they got a nice breakfast and lunch.”
Event co-lead Krystal Hopper added that also attending the event are representatives from the American Legion, Operation Rebuild Hope and from organizations to help connect veterans with housing and services they may not know they qualify to receive.
A raffle will be held for attendees, with 15 to 20 baskets filled with prizes.
The event still needs another refrigerator to hold food. To donate a refrigerator, call 541-269-2986.
To register as a volunteer during the event or a provider with a table to help veterans, visit veteransstanddown.com.