WARSAW — A sea of ball caps, emblazoned with all branches of the U.S. military and representing the past six decades, were seen throughout the Center Lake Pavilion on Wednesday, Nov. 7 as local veterans converged on the venue for the annual Military Veteran Stand Down, sponsored by Goodwill Industries.
Veterans were asked to bring a copy of their DD-214, a document every service member receives upon discharge from the military. Available to those in attendance were services such as employment assistance, housing assistance, health screenings and even on-site massages.
Kelly Friend, director of career and business engagement with Goodwill Industries of Michiana, said the event was designed to link former military personnel with services available in the area.
“What we want to do here today is to make sure that every veteran who comes through the door is connected with their community, the areas of need they might have or things that they might not have known about on how their community can support them,” said Friend.
Veterans could also visit booths staffed by representatives of the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration and could also receive assistance in legal matters or with dental care.
“The standout targets homeless veterans and at-risk veterans and it’s open to all veterans,” said Mark Mathes, veteran employment representative for Kosciusko County with Work One Northern Indiana. “Goodwill brings in resources such as the VA, healthcare systems, The Bowen Center and anything related to health and veterans. This is like a one-stop shop for veterans.”
According to Friend, participation in the event from the side of providers and vendors was overwhelming.
“We’re over capacity right now,” Friend said. “We have more vendors who showed up and didn’t even register, so they showed up here today and we’re hitting 40 vendors. We also had a total of 50 volunteers from United Way who recruited volunteers from Depuy, Zimmer Biomet and KGP.”
The event continues until 5 p.m.