NW Illinois Stand Down and Welcome Home 2016

The sixth annual Northwestern Illinois Stand Down and Welcome Home for area veterans and their families will be held October 8, noon to 3 p.m. at Read Park in Freeport.

The purpose of the event is to provide veterans with information about veterans’ benefits and services at the local and national level and helping our homeless and at-risk veterans, active duty, Reserve and National Guard service members. Special emphasis focuses on alternative care and treatment of mental health issues such as PTSD, MST and TBI. It is also a time to say to all our veterans, “Welcome home and thank you for your service.”

Stand Down is a military term referring to a brief respite from combat. During this Stand Down, assistance will be provided to homeless veterans and veterans in need in the areas of VA medical and mental health counseling, employment and vocational rehabilitation counseling, assistance with VA and Social Security benefits claims, clothing and haircuts.

The VAC of Stephenson County Office and the Freeport Office of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs have partnered with several dedicated service providers, volunteers, military service organizations, community-based organizations and representatives from city, county, state and federal agencies in a collaborative effort to assist our nation’s veterans.

The opening ceremony will take place at 12 p.m. outside the Read Park pavilion. NJROTC members from Freeport area high schools will present the colors. Guest speaker will be Commander Barry Boettcher, NJROTC Senior Science Instructor at Freeport High School. Special presentations will be provided by Pets for Vets, Kare-9 Military Ministry and Guitars for Vets. Other activities include a “Kids Zone” and an inflatable coupon grabber where participants can reach for coupons from area businesses and organizations.

All veterans and their families are invited to this free event. Veterans in Stephenson County who need a ride should call the Allied Veterans’ Van Service at 815-233-5284 by October 3.

For further information, contact the event coordinators: Luke Runte, Veterans’ Service Officer, IDVA, 815-233-5092; Maryna Misiewicz, Superintendent, VAC of Stephenson County, 815-233-7282.

–Staff report

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