ROCKINGHAM — A Stand Down event for veterans in Hoke, Richmond and Scotland Counties will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 16 at the National Guard Armory in Raeford.
Jim Parker, a spokesman for Stand Down, said he hopes to assist veterans in the tri-county area by connecting them with a number of helping agencies.
“We just try to gather community resources in all three of the counties,” Parker said. “But the main place we’re going to have it is in Raeford. So I’ve asked people who can provide services to veterans in the area, who can provide housing assistance, health care assistance, and employment opportunities.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, he said, plays a large role in the events each year.
“We receive a lot of donations from agencies like the VA,” Parker explained. “They are helpful as far as providing donations, staff and assisted health care. They’re going to have health clinics and will be able to provide HIV testing and Hepatitis C information. And any health-related information a veteran would need will be there.”
He said he’s sent letters out to businesses in the Raeford area, and hopes to have 35 exhibitors and vendors there that day.
“It’s an annual event, so as the word gets out, more people contact me to come and join in,” Parker said. Like the Durham Police Department — they want to do some recruiting. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety will also be recruiting for correctional officer positions.”
Among corporate contributors, Parker said Unilever and Campbell’s Soup usually donate hygiene kits and pallets of soup that are distributed.
“We will be serving lunch there,” he added. “That should be right around 11 a.m. And it’s an open event for military and veterans who need assistance. We’ve been known to help the general public as well after serving the veterans. Just anything anyone might need that we can do.”
Parker noted that this is the first Stand Down that has occurred in spring.
“This is the first time NC Works is holding it in March,” he said. “It gives them something, a little momentum between winter and summer. We’ve had it in November, December and January in the past, so having it in spring is sort of a debut.”
Last Janurary, a Stand Down event was held at the Dobbins Heights Community Center.
The event was “was modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations,” according to the website for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. “At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment. Stand Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being.”
For more information, call Jim Parker at 910-276-4260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673.
NC Works is holding a Veterans Stand Down event March 16 in Raeford.