Volunteers Sought for Veterans Stand Down; October 3rd Meeting

If you are non-military, as I am, you may not know what a “stand down” is. It’s a time when soldiers get away from the battle field for a bit of rest and relaxation.

Since the Vietnam War, a civilian counterpart has evolved into a place where discharged military veterans can come to relax and get help.

I’ve met veterans from the Iraq War and from others as far back as World War II.

The third stand down sponsored by NASA (National Association of Systems Administrators, not the space agency) Educational Foundation will be held at Camp Algonquin the second Monday and Tuesday of October. The camp is located on the Fox River east of Route 31 on the Algonquin-Cary blacktop. It is owned by the McHenry County Conservation District and operated by the YMCA. Several cabins were converted to year-round use for Hurricane Katrina evacuees and it was used as a drop-off spot for clothes, etc.

I attended the stand down a year ago and the one last spring. The articles to which I have linked will give you an idea what goes on.

You will see people sorting clothing. There are enough good duds to dress anyone for any season.

Meals are served to the veterans–a number of whom are homeless. The guys and gals get a night of relaxation in front of a big screen television. Hair cuts, massages,any kind of service that people are willing to volunteer.

There are agencies from all levels of government.

If you would like to help out, the details are in the press release below:

Volunteer Orientation Meeting Oct. 3 for Stand Down for Veterans

National Association of Systems Administrators Education Corporation (NASA Education) will host an orientation meeting for volunteers and service providers for the Stand Down for Veterans at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 3, at its headquarters, 3305 South IL Rte. 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60012. The number to call for information is 866-338-4968 (866-EDU-4YOU).

At the orientation meeting, tasks will be explained and time slots assigned. Volunteers are needed to help set up the site on the afternoon of Sunday, October 7; work the Stand Down itself on October 8 and 9, and clean up the site on the afternoon of October 9.

The Stand Down for Veterans will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on October 8 and from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. October 9 at YMCA Camp Algonquin, 1889 Cary Road, Algonquin, IL 60102. Veterans who are newly discharged, displaced, homeless, unemployed or otherwise in transition will receive a variety of services including medical screenings, employment services, referrals for housing assistance and food vouchers, information about benefits to which they may be entitled, assistance applying for VA medical benefits, information about community programs for homeless and low-income individuals, referrals for dental and eye care, overnight shelter October 8, all meals during the event, free haircuts, chair massages, and the distribution of clothes, coats, new underwear, and toiletry items.

NASA Education will accept applications for Project Fresh Start, its vocational rehabilitation and community reintegration program for U.S. veterans who are displaced, disabled, homeless or otherwise in transition. The organization will also accept applications for its recently purchased transitional housing facility. NASA Education is a Crystal Lake-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive vocational rehabilitation and community reintegration services for U.S. veterans who are displaced, disabled, homeless or otherwise in transition.

Donations are needed for the Stand Down in the form of cash, new and like-new clothes for men and women, baked goods or other desserts, toiletries, fast food gift certificates in small denominations.

Please phone NASA Education at 866-338-4968 toll-free for more information about the Stand Down, transportation pick-up points, volunteering and making donations. Or you may send an email to Kathy Chwedyk at kathy_chwedyk@nasaeducation.org. The NASA Education website is www.nasaeducation.org.
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John Blanchard, head of NASA Education, is seen talking to a volunteer in the huge clothes room in the bottom photo.

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