Veterans event coming to fairgrounds
On Thursday, April 25, the fieldhouse at the Becker County Fairgrounds in Detroit Lakes will be playing host to between 200-300 military veterans from around the Midwest.
Between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., area veterans will be able to receive legal assistance, employment assistance and referrals, information on public and VA (Veterans Administration) benefits, chaplain services and more.
They will also be able to enjoy lunch and obtain military-issue clothing such as coats, boots, hats and gloves -- all free of charge.
Though the Stand Down event organized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is meant to aid veterans who are homeless or in danger of losing their homes, it is open to any area veterans who are in need of the services provided, according to Becker County Veterans Service Officer Lauri Brooke.
"All veterans are welcome," she said. "All these resources will be available in one place, so any veteran who needs help with their benefits, or is looking for a job is welcome to come -- (and) anyone who has not enrolled with the VA... we want to see you and talk with you, show what we have available and get you enrolled."
The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego. Since then, Stand Downs have been used as an effective tool in reaching out to homeless veterans, reaching more than 200,000 veterans and their family members across the U.S. between 1994-2000, according to information provided by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
Stand Downs are one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs' efforts to provide services to homeless veterans. They are typically one to three day events providing services to homeless veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment.
Stand Downs are collaborative events, coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies and community agencies who serve the homeless.
For more information about the Detroit Lakes Stand Down event on April 25, please call the Becker County Veterans Service Office at 218-846-7312.
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.