March 9th and March 10th, 2009
CRYSTAL LAKE – Veterans who are newly discharged, displaced, disabled, homeless or are otherwise in transition are the focus of the Stand Down for Veterans, which will take place beginning at 9:00 a.m. on March 9 through 3:00 p,m., March 10th at YMCA Camp Algonquin, 1889 Cary Road, Algonquin.
We are pleased to announce and delighted to extend our warmest welcome to the new Director of The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Dan Grant. Director Grant will be in attendance at the Stand Down on Monday, March 9th.
“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 200 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 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.
- Phyllis Taylor Smith of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will verify military status and eligibility for services as well as claims processing; this office can and will make things happen.
- Sheryl White from Sr. Services,
- Siobhan White from Hospice of NE IL and
- representatives from the Social Security will also be on hand to assist with any questions and applications for SSDI.
- The American Red Cross will also be on hand to provide assistance.
- Veterans will be able to register for medical care at North Chicago VA Medical Center and Hines VA Medical Center at the Stand Down.
- Veteran service officers from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) 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
- Pam Sexton, the constituent services advocate from Congressman Donald Manzullo’s Office.
NASA Education will accept applications for participation in Project Fresh Start, its comprehensive workforce and community reintegration program for U.S. veterans who are displaced, disabled, homeless or otherwise in transition. NASA Education will also accept applications for its 32-bed transitional housing facility for homeless veterans.
- Liberating Solutions and
will be on-site to offer employment opportunities.
NASA Education’s very own Veteran Service Officer, Eric Behler will also be on site to assist veterans in applying for VA disability claims and other VA benefits and DD214s.
“The individuals that come to the Stand Down are in need of a safe place to be, workforce and community reintegration training and an opportunity to be back on track where they should be, and that’s exactly what we provide through our main program Project Fresh Start. Employers that wish to have dedicated, English speaking trainees that will show up to work and have a burning desire for a new career should strongly consider Project Fresh Start participants,” said Blanchard.
“I strongly encourage the service providers attending the stand down to fulfill their obligations to the veteran community by doing what they’re charged do.”
Clothing, military gear, meals and the use of shower facilities will be provided on both days, and overnight shelter will be provided on Monday, March 9th.
Individuals and organizations from the community have donated new and gently used clothing and shoes, new underwear and socks, and toiletries.
Partial funding over the past 3 years, for the Stand Down has been provided through grants from the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS)/U.S. Department of Labor.
Donations are still needed in the form of cash, new and gently used clothes for men and women, baked goods or other desserts, toiletries, fast food gift certificates in small denominations and gift cards from supermarkets.
Transportation will be provided to the Stand Down for the veterans from various pick-up points throughout the community.
Please phone NASA Education at 866-338-4968 toll-free for more information about the Stand Down, pick-up points, volunteering and making donations. Or you may send an email to Amy Johnson at Amy_Johnson@nasaeducation.org. The NASA Education website is www.nasaeducation.org.
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.
Photos are all from past Stand Downs. On top you see McHenry County Board member Mary Donner with NASA Education’s John Blanchard.
McHenry County Blog coverage of previous Stand Downs can be found below:
McHenry County Blog has written stories about each of them: