Hundreds of veterans lined up Friday morning right outside the Department of Veteran Affairs. They were there to take advantage of countless resources and services.
“It’s very important. Some of the guys they really need it,” said William Thigpen, a veteran from New Haven.
All of the service are free of charge.
“Clinical support services, DMV, judicial are here, veteran service organizations, housing and unemployment providers are here as well. Including private employers,” said Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Thomas J. Saadi.
The event is called ‘Stand Down’ and is modeled after a concept during the Vietnam war where secure base camp areas were available to units returning from combat operations. Troops were provided clean uniforms, warm meals, medical and dental care, and time to enjoy friends in a safe environment. The services on Friday were life-changing for many men and women. Some of them have fallen on hard times and need the help.
“I’ll tell you, it’s very important some of these guys, I hate to say, are down and out,” said Robert Russell, a veteran from Manchester. “Just a hat and a pair of socks will go a long way with these guys. You’ll see them break down and cry.”
News 8 speaking with a number of people who served our country proudly, who say our veterans are often forgotten about.
“You rdive coming off the highway, you see a veteran out there. I’m a veteran, I roll the window down and give them two bucks. That shakes me up,” said Russell. “There should be no homeless vet around.”
“Yeah it hurts. It hurts. But what can I say though, that’s the world,” said Thigpen.
Friday’s event, which was put on by Community Health Center, Inc., serving as a reminder that the issues vets face are real and need to be addressed. Something the VA knows all about.
“While we have services here one day a year, one stop shop, we are here 365 days a year for our veterans with our federal partners,” said Commissioner Saadi.
If you or someone you know needs help or any resources you can contact the VA Healthcare System. Those locations and numbers are listed below:
West Haven: 203-932-5711