As the wars in Iraq
drag on, we have a piece of good news for local veterans on this chilly Veterans Day
Next week, Central City Concern
will team up with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
to hold a Veterans Stand Down
[PDF] on Nov. 16 and 17 for vets who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. The free event, complete with a job fair, clothes, and haircuts, will be at the Memorial Coliseum from 9 am to 4 pm on Tuesday and 9 am to 6 pm on Wednesday.
The Stand Down will help veterans better navigate services geared to earn them a different job or a college education. (Under the new GI Bill
passed in 2008, soldiers who have served at least three years of duty since 9/11 are entitled to a four year, full-ride at a public college.)
Federal officials say there are about 330,000 veterans living in Oregon, and only one-third are receiving benefits. Some find services, which include assistance for physical disabilities and screening for post traumatic stress disorder, don't suit them. And others, officials say, find the application process confusing or overwhelming.
On top of that, spending time in the hospital is frowned upon in the military, and the stigma is challenging to reverse.
"It is difficult. 'Just suck it up' is a military mantra,'" says Mike Eschte, an ex-Marine
helping to get the word out for the Stand Down event. "It's not wrong to seek help from the military for something that was wronged while they were on active duty."
For more information on the event, visit portlandstanddown.org