Modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations, Operation Stand Down helps area homeless Veterans secure social, medical, dental, legal, and housing assistance. Achieving this worthwhile objective, however, requires a wide range of support services--all at one location. In addition to about 40 volunteers from the Providence VAMC, the Providence VA Regional Office, and the local Vet Center; several other organizations devoted time and resources: Johnson & Wales cooked the chow; several lawyers provided pro-bono legal services; Thundermist provided free Dental care; White River Junction loaned a mobile van; and the 338th Army Reserve provided the tents and other support services. For the first time, there were also judicial services--judges from Superior, District, and Family courts. District Court Chief Judge Jeanne E. LaFazia attended on the first day of the event.
Other participating organizations and services included:
• Network Rhode Island
• RI Coalition for the Homeless
• RI Veterans Home
• Crossroads RI
• Amos House
• RI Department of Human Services
• SNAP (Food stamps)
• Department of Labor & Training
• Gateway to Independence
• RI Veterans Action Council
• VA Nursing Academy/RI College School of Nursing
• My Healthy Vet Coordinator
• Vet to Vet Program
• Alcohol Anonymous meetings
• Narcotics Anonymous meetings
• Battle Buddies (Service Dogs)
• Spiritual services
• A barber shop and a massage tent
This year, Operation Stand Down assisted more than 300 Veterans.
Operation Stand Down Rhode Island is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a safe and supportive permanent home for Veterans of the United States Armed Services. An estimated 250 Veterans receive support from this Stand Down annually and more than 3,000 have been give a "hand up, not a handout" since the organization formed and began its work in Rhode Island in 1993. Additional information about Operation Stand Down Rhode Island is available here.