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Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013

Heroes of the Week: Veterans Helping Veterans: Wisconsin Stand Down Volunteers

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Founded in 1990, Wisconsin Stand Down has been offering “a hand up, not a hand out” to Milwaukee veterans by providing homeless or at-risk veterans access to longer-term solutions by building community and inter-organizational relationships to help fight homelessness among veterans. Each year, this entirely volunteer-run nonprofit offers two day-long “Stand Down” events for homeless or at-risk veterans at the National Guard Armory. Attendees can find assistance with emergency housing, employment, clothing, matters of hygiene, medical/dental/optical exams and much more. Twenty-three Stand Downs have been held to date and approximately 200 veterans attend each event.

“Our volunteers are excellent,” says Kathleen Hawkins, secretary of Wisconsin Stand Down. “They come back from event to event and have helped so many veterans. It is tough for veterans being on the streets, but we see many of them integrating again and that is what makes us want to come back again and again. We are also thankful to the National Guard for letting us use their armory for the event itself.”

The next Stand Down will be held Feb. 22, 2014, and the organization is looking for veterans or veterans’ groups to serve on the board to help with planning and working the event. Monetary donations, bus tickets and gift cards (Menards, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Dollar Tree, etc.) are always needed and can be mailed to P.O. Box 170307, Milwaukee, WI 53217. Other donations needed, such as personal care items, undergarments, reading glasses, eye glass cases, first aid kits, hand sanitizers and white 6-foot tables, can be dropped off the day before the event. For more information, visit war-veterans.org/Stddwn or contact Bob Hawkins, president of Wisconsin Stand Down, at 414-379-1221 or rhawkins001@wi.rr.com.

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