Veterans Stand Down at Camp Algonquin Next Monday and Tuesday

Crystal Lake’s NASA Education is hosting its fourth Stand Down for Veterans next Monday and Tuesday. The press release follows:

Stand Down for Veterans to take place
March 31st and April 1st, 2008

CRYSTAL LAKE – Veterans who are newly discharged, displaced, disabled, homeless or unemployed are the focus of the Stand Down for Veterans, which will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on March 31 through April 1. at YMCA Camp Algonquin, 1889 Cary Road, Algonquin.

U.S Department of Labor’s Patrick Winfrey, Illinois Representative Linda Chapa LaVia, Illinois Senator Pam Althoff and McHenry County board member, from District 3, Mary Donner will address the veterans at an assembly to take place at noon on Monday, March 31st in the camp’s dining hall.

“The individuals attending our stand down, coming for assistance are truly heroes. Each and every one of us owes them our gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy, worldwide. The reasons that they have reached the point in need of assistance, varies as widely as your own individuality. The people coming to the stand down for assistance are not only recent veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, but are also veterans that reach as far back as the Vietnam War, the Korean War and the code talkers of WWII,”

said John Blanchard, executive director of National Association of Systems Administrators Education Corporation (NASA Education), the sponsor of the event. He added that the organization is expecting to provide services to at least 150 veterans.

As NASA Education motto states,

“Through ‘help and healing and delivering on their hope’, these individuals want to rejoin the mainstream of our productive society. They were once the most loyal, dedicated, responsible and professional employees that the federal government has ever had and they need to get that back.“

Services will include medical screenings and information about other VA services by North Chicago VA Medical Center, employment services by Jeff Johnson, Andrew Michnowski and Reynaldo Infante of Veterans Employment Training Service (VETS)/Department of Labor through the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), referrals for housing assistance and other services by Mike Iwanicki and Cheryl Kirsch of the McHenry County Veterans Assistance Commission and John Carr of the Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission, legal counseling by Attorney Jeffrey Antonelli and Prairie State Legal Services, referrals for dental services by local dentists and the Illinois Foundation for Dentistry for the Handicapped, and referrals for eye care services by Northwest Eye Care of Algonquin.

Phyllis Taylor Smith and Gail Pike of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will verify military status and eligibility for services as well as claims processing; these ladies can and will make things happen.

Veterans will be able to register for medical care at North Chicago VA Medical Center and Hines VA Medical Center at the Stand Down. Pat O’Dea Evans, COO from Paxem, Inc. of Cary, IL will be in attendance. Pat is a veteran and nurse who is trained to take applications for VA benefits.

Veteran service officers from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) and representatives of AMVETS, the VFW and various other veterans organizations will assist veterans in applying for VA disability claims and other VA benefits, state health insurance, and DD214s.)

Information about community services for homeless and low-income individuals will be provided by Susan Giannone, the constituent services advocate from Congresswoman Melissa Bean’s Office, and Cheryl Schmid, the constituent services advocate from Congressman Donald Manzullo’s Office. Scott Ottesen of The Vet Center will meet with veterans and distribute information about services. Also participating as a service provider will be Tammy Tope of TLS New Horizons, a transitional living facility for veterans in Hebron, and Derek Jeske of Volunteers of America of Illinois, Chicago.

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