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Operation Stand Down treating homeless veterans to a weekend of free services in Huntsville

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Today brings the beginning of an important weekend for veterans in north Alabama who are homeless.

Operation Stand Down Huntsville is holding a weekend of activities for about 130 veterans who need a break from the streets.

The organization does this every year for homeless vets and usually sees about 130 homeless veterans from the area.

Volunteers go out in vans and pick up the veterans from various points in the city and bring them to True Light Church of God in Christ at 6380 Pulaski Pike for all kinds of free services.

Volunteers spent hours on Thursday unloading all of the donated items and getting ready for the start of the weekend at 7:00 a.m. Friday.

The veterans will be able to sleep indoors in cots through Sunday afternoon.  They’ll be treated to flu shots, dental work, haircuts, hot meals, clothing, entertainment and given items they can take back with them to where ever they’re staying.

Organizers of Operation Stand Down say they work year-round to collect donations and money to put this event on each year, hoping that someday the organization will shut down.

“We do it not for glory, we do it for those comrades in arms that are out there that are homeless and we’re trying to get them off the street,” said Harold Stogsdill, Chairman of the Board for Operation Stand Down.  “Our goal is the organization will shut down when all the homeless veterans are off the street.”

Stogsdill, who is a U.S. Navy veteran from the Vietnam era, says there will be an opening ceremony Saturday at noon, to be attended by several Huntsville leaders.

After the weekend concludes around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon, the volunteers will take the veterans back to where they stay.

If you’d like to donate to the cause, click HERE.  You can donate online using PayPal.  Or you can stop by Operation Stand Down Huntsville’s new office at 4000 Marie Street in Huntsville.

There are also several volunteer opportunities if you’d like to help.

9 comments

  • August

    Homeless Veterans need immediate regular housing & living-wage employment, those will not be offered to the homeless veterans attending this event; the veterans will leave STILL HOMELESS & UNEMPLOYED.

    • Dan

      Granted this is no permanent fix to the homeless veteran issue, but what are you suggesting? That they not even do the event all together ? They may not be providing housing but from what I take from the article they will be providing some much needed healthcare for free !

  • styles johnson

    Look, homeless have a tonne of issues but for a hair cut, some fresh clothes, hotmeals, ,.,thats something to celebrate. I like to see a clean, neat homeless person for achange. Way to go.

  • Ashley Danielle

    I love the thought of this event and I truly wish I knew about it ahead of time. I would have loved to participate. Seeing and interacting with our homeless population on a weekly basis, I had the opportunity to truly get a glimpse of what they endured and the conditions that they lived in. Many want assistance, others do not; and that is the honest truth. Many prefer to live where they are. For those who do want assistance, agencies such as First Stop are there to assist in many ways. Although terribly understaffed for the population that they serve, they do a good job. Many homeless vets that I encountered have coexisting diagnosis ranging from axis 1-4 with 4 reflecting socioeconomic limitations: lack of education (formal and that of available resources, lack of support, etc). That the other commenter stated, there is no quick fix. It is going to take a lot of agencies and a lot of community support to get what needs to be done accomplished. This is a fantastic initiative and I look forward to donating my time next year!

    • stan/ truck driver

      I agree but some stand at the red light begging for money for booze , but I;m not in there shoes so I can not say any thing about that , but will say I think most want to stay drunk all the time , but I could be wrong , there is 1 I know of if you offer money to him he will turn you DOWN and leave and give you a rude look,all he wants is for you to leave him alone!!! ps; another that was alive a few years ago had more cash on him than I make in a month , and got robbed and beat up , homeless with more money than us is something to think about….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • styles johnson

    Stan, you are rright about your observation. I concur with you. What most people don’t know is that these people are far from stupid. They might be crazy, yes but they are not stupid. Alot of them are on some kind govt assistance. Disability, social security and some of them get stipends from the VA. What makes these people a pain to help is that they do not want to be held accountable for anything. Its a no-holds barred lifestyle they live and quite frankly, they love it. Everytime they get their checks, they are off to motels to drink and smoke and what not. A few days later, they are back on th. streets all looking s***t faced from all their fun!

  • styles johnson

    …get a clue! They are not as bad as they are made out to be. They are very calculating and very conniving. Good opportunists, if you will

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