Stand Down: A human-scale portal to vet services

Posted 7/31/19

Cars lined Otto Street and packed the lot of the Port Townsend Elks Club July 29, as soldiers from all over the Olympic Peninsula took advantage of the bazaar stalls of private and public agencies at Voices for Veterans’ “Stand Down”.

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Stand Down: A human-scale portal to vet services

Posted

Cars lined Otto Street and packed the lot of the Port Townsend Elks Club July 29, as soldiers from all over the Olympic Peninsula took advantage of the bazaar stalls of private and public agencies at Voices for Veterans’ “Stand Down”.

The events focus urgently on helping homeless veterans, but also on providing easy access for veterans in any circumstance.

“They’re trying to feed you,” laughed Arlinda Daniels, a 1991-2011 Navy veteran from Bremerton. “You don’t get that at a federal building.”

She drove the 50 miles from Bremerton because a fellow vet recommended it.

Though she has been out of the Navy for eight years, she has never filed for Veterans Administration services and is now thinking she’d like to take advantage of medical and housing benefits.

At the Port Townsend event, she and another Navy veteran from Bremerton, David Seebach, met with Robert Hersey, a VA outreach counselor. Seebach, who enlisted in 2016 and has just left the Navy, was seeking information on how to get help with his plan to gain a nursing degree.

Chris Stevens, a Quilcene native who served in the Army from 2008 through 2011, stumbled on the event by chance, seeing the “Veterans Stand Down” signs on State Route 20 and pulling in with his soon-to-be wife Sarah and two young children in tow.

The Port Angeles resident said a helpful VA officer got him set up for some dental work and, with his lease expiring, steered him to Sarge’s Place, a program in Forks for homeless veterans.

Voices for Veterans’ on-site event manager, Jon Brash, said the three events per year attract a wide range of people, from homeless veterans who need a lot of help to stable retirees who just want to touch base.

The day-long event offers veterans everything from a hot meal, a haircut and some fresh clothes to veterinary care for their pets and assistance with veterans programs for housing, healthcare, employment and education.

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