This is our core, our beginning, and a very important part of what we do! It will always remain the heart of our organization. Below describes what is experienced at the Annual Operation Stand Down Event which takes places every year during the Fall season.
20th Annual Operation Stand Down Event
The 20th Annual Operation Stand Down Event has been scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 12, 13 and 14, 2012 at the old TN Preparatory School (TPS) Gymnasium, the same place as last year. Please note this is a return to our regular weekend format! The address is 1164 Foster Avenue, Nashville, TN 37210. Set up will be Monday through Thursday, October 8 – 11, 2012. This annual, community-supported three-day event provides outreach, information and social services to Veterans who are homeless. For more information, please call the Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc. office at (615) 248-1981.
Don Samuels, National Commander, Disabled American Veterans, and Bill Burleigh, Executive Director, Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc., are the Co-Chairs for this year’s Event. In preparation, the Operation Stand Down Event Committee will meet on the following dates at the Veteran Service Center of Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc. The address is listed above. If you would like to support the Event and be on one of the Event Committees, please call Bill at (615) 248-1981 or just come to a meeting! All meetings are open to the public. Each meeting is on a Thursday, begins at 2 PM and ends no later than 3:30 PM.
July 26 August 9 August 23
September 6 September 20 October 4 – Final Walk Through at TPS- 2 PM
Thank you for your continuing support of those who have served our country but are now in need.
Bill Burleigh and Don Samuels
Operation Stand Down Event Co-Chairs
Flyer and Advertising Request
The Operation Stand Down Experience – FROM PREVIOUS STAND DOWNS
Although Operation Stand Down does not officially begin until 7:00 AM, veterans start gathering just after dawn. Volunteers offer hot coffee and doughnuts to greet them. Many attending have been pre-registered to facilitate check-in and provide on-site availability of medical and legal documents for service providers.
After registering and getting their tent assignments, one of the first services many veterans seek is the new clothing, towels, and hygiene items available.
There is nothing like a hot shower, a haircut, and the friendly conversation that fills the barber area to make participating veterans start to feel at home with Operation Stand Down. Many of the first real smiles you see happen here.
Counselors from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the US
Dept of Veterans Affairs and the TN Dept of Veterans Affairs are available
throughout the Event to discuss benefits and assist in filing a claim with
Representatives from many community service agencies are on hand to help veterans access such programs as social security benefits, voter registration, food stamps, income tax preparation, and many other services that are often taken for granted but needed by the homeless.
Attorneys with Metro Nashville's Public Defender's Office, Legal Services of Middle Tennessee, and General Sessions Court Judges join forces to actually set up a General Sessions Court to review legal issues ranging from traffic tickets to criminal offenses. Minor offenses may be cleared through community service work. Follow-on court dates are set as needed. Legal advice is also provided.
Almost all veterans take advantage of the free medical, dental, hearing screening exams, and immunizations offered. Many seek care for chronic skin and foot problems common to the homeless population. Appointments for follow-up medical care at the VA Medical Center are scheduled as needed.
Social workers, chaplains, psychologists, certified substance abuse counselors, and 12 Step program representatives offer on-site assistance, 12-Step Meetings, individual counseling, and arrange follow-up care through community resources.
Employment specialists from several organizations provide advice on all areas of employment and employment training. Follow-up appointments are made to get veterans involved in employment training opportunities.
Books, playing cards, games, and movie tents are available as a way to take a break from official Operation Stand Down activities, relax, and enjoy the company of others, or be by themselves. It is also a great area for casual conversation between veterans and volunteers.
More than 3,000 meals are served to participants and volunteers during the three-day event. These meals are planned, prepared, and served by caring Veteran Service Organizations and their Auxiliaries. Food and drinks are available at all times throughout the event.
Friday and Saturday evenings, as the official activities of the day begin to wind down, local musicians take the stage to entertain Operation Stand Down participants and further seal the sense of community and trust that has steadily been building since Friday morning. Veterans then retire to their tent area for a rare night of safe and peaceful rest not possible when living on the streets.
Sunday Memorial Service
A memorial service is held Sunday morning to pay respect to those homeless veterans who have died during the last year. The service is very humbling.
The veterans who have stayed all weekend have an opportunity to receive clothes and a winter coat Sunday morning.