Submitted by: Javier Hernandez
On September 19, I attended the "Stand Down" held in Fresno, Calif. My intent behind attending the event was with the purpose of looking at the benefits that many organizations provide to the military veterans, .Some of them included the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Fresno County Veterans Service, Medicare and prescriptions drug plans for veterans, Workforce Connection, Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program, Veterans Experience the Therapeutic Value and so on. All of these are great programs in which if a veteran is in need, it will be available. The program that became the most popular is the Homeless Housing Authority,
Every so often I get to walk on the streets and approach the homeless that hang around the streets, in search of these military veterans. In the last six months or so, I found two individuals that say they are veterans, I identified myself and explained that I wanted to help them, but one person was in complete denial for support. His answer was that he would rather be on the street and not have anyone to tell him what to do. Another female in her late 50s said that she was not given access to the benefits because of the DD 214 information and so I explained that if she let me help, that we could go to the office and get her DD 214 information and maybe I can assist her. She then took a ride along and got to the veterans hospital and I bought her a meal, I turned her to the VSO and it appeared that she was assisted.
Back to the Stand Down: Many of the people there enjoyed a meal, had a place to stay overnight and a shower, As I mentioned with the organizations above, the personnel were very professional and would go out of their way to help any military veteran. I had a great experience and I feel that there is a need for more events around town,
The next mission is to work with the state of California on getting the homeless out of the street. We will have a team of veterans who will walk around town and find an answer to the homeless dismay.
About the author:
Javier Hernandez served in the U.S. Marine Corps from Dec 1974 to Dec 1994. He is a member of the American Legion and AMVETS. He served as Boys State American Legion of California for district 14 in 2019.