Mohave County homeless and at-risk veterans are availing themselves of many resources being offered Friday and Saturday at the 5th Annual Tri-State Veterans Stand Down in Bullhead City.
Modern day Stand Downs were inspired by the practice during war when the military removed soldiers from the front lines to send them for rest and recuperation (“R&R”) before returning to battle. Today’s Stand Downs provide veterans with food, clothing, and resources that will enable them to improve their lives.
Organized by the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council of Mohave County, a 501(c)3 nonprofit and member of the Arizona Veterans Stand Down Alliance and the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness, the two-day Tri-State Stand Down is held at the Bullhead City Community Park and Chamber of Commerce building at 1251 Arizona Highway 95. Saturday, the Stand Down will be in operation from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Services being provided this weekend include housing, employment, VA benefits, mental health, legal assistance, family services, dental and eye care supplies, military records, counseling, support groups, social security, showers, haircuts, hygiene supplies, food and more. The Department of Defense donates excess military clothing, boots, sleeping bags and blankets. An Arizona Food Handlers Certification Class was offered Friday, and food and shots are also offered free for veterans’ pets.
JAVC President Pat Farrell said new services were added this year, including the GEO Group which was hiring for prison positions, and Pitzer’s One Hour Air which was also hiring. The Salvation Army brought in a large selection of clothing free to veterans.
“Last year, we provided services to 387 veterans, of which 40 were homeless,” Farrell said Friday. “Today alone we helped about 230 veterans, and more will show up tomorrow.
“We interviewed about 15 homeless vets today,” Farrell continued. “And Mohave County has enough HUD VASH vouchers to be able to put all of them into housing. With fewer homeless vets this year, this tells me that our programs are working. I’ll be happy when there are no homeless veterans left for us to help.”
Free transportation is being provided from surrounding areas to the Stand Down. Call 928-716-3001 for pickup times and locations.
Feature photo: Veterans are evaluated for services they require.