Veterans will receive a haircut, hot meal and access to services at the Stand Down event in Las Cruces
LAS CRUCES – A Stand Down for Veterans Event Tuesday provided a free meal, access to services, and winter equipment for homeless veterans, veterans at risk of homelessness, or other veterans in need.
The Stand Down for Veterans is modeled on a concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe haven for units returning from combat.
Veterans could show up at JM Carriere VFW Post 10124 at 709 S. Valley Drive and enjoy a hot breakfast or lunch. If desired, they could have their hair cut and learn about veterans administration services, including housing, disability, dental care, and legal assistance. Vaccinations were also offered.
Ricky Weaver, who served in the Army from 1984 to 1992, said he was grateful for the chance to get a flu shot and also access to services that can help.
Weaver had a long white beard and said he wasn’t interested in having his hair cut. However, many veterans lowered their ears during the four-hour event.
Weaver and others were also given a bag full of gear to get them through the colder months.
“Winter is just around the corner; winter is really tough for these homeless veterans,” said promoter Rogelio Maldonado, state commander for New Mexico’s foreign war veterans. “They need their sleeping bag and cold weather equipment. So we wanted to make sure they got (these things). We also gave them a good home-cooked meal. ”The customer review has been automatically translated from German.
Veteran Support Organizations such as the VA, VFW, American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans have been on Stand Down to guide veterans to the services they need.
Veterans often languish after returning home from combat, especially in a world that doesn’t rely on a strict chain of command, Maldonado said.
“I was a senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) in the military, so I directed them. When they come out they don’t,” he said. “That’s what these organizations are about. If you look at the American Legion, DAV and VFWs – we are that chain of organizations that help them with their needs, help them start families, and adapt them to their communities. “
The Stand Down for Veterans event was canceled in 2020 amid the pandemic but came back bigger this year, Maldonado said. He said he had noticed renewed interest in veteran services, including mental health.
Nathan J. Fish can be reached at [email protected] or @PhotoJFish on Twitter.