Spring Veterans Stand Down Next Monday & Tuesday

The following press release has been received from NASA Education. It gives details of the Stand Down on Marcy 8th and 9th.

NASA Education Corporation Semi-Annual Stand Down for Veterans to take place March 8-9, 2010

CRYSTAL LAKE – Calling all veterans this event is for you. There is no cost to attend this function. Veterans who are newly discharged, displaced, disabled or homeless and are otherwise in transition are the focus of the Stand Down for Veterans, which will take place beginning at 8:00 a.m. on March 8th through 3:00 p.m., March 9th at YMCA Camp Algonquin, 1889 Cary Road, Algonquin.

“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.

Last fall's Stand Down saw men walking up the hill from the clothes room with full duffel bags.

He added that the organization is expecting to provide services to over 300 veterans. Due to a new feature added to our website that allows attendees to pre-register for the event, we are able to plan more efficiently; so with almost 289 pre-registered, we anticipate that number to increase over the two days with individuals who will walk in that day. 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.”

Luncheon is served.

Services will include medical screenings and information about other VA services by North Chicago VA Medical Center, employment services by Veterans Employment Training Service (VETS)/Department of Labor through the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), referrals for housing assistance and other services by the McHenry County Veterans Assistance Commission., legal counseling by Attorney Jeffrey Antonelli. 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.

Attorney Jeff Antonelli is one of the people who volunteer at the Stand Down.

Senior Services and representatives from the Social Security Administration will also be on hand to assist with any questions and applications for SSDI. The American Red Cross will be on hand to provide assistance. McHenry County College will be sending a representative to answer any questions regarding registering for classes, etc. Other services providers will be the VET Center and PAXEM, Inc. Harper College Dental Clinic will be providing cancer screenings on Tuesday only.

Veterans will be able to register for medical care at North Chicago VA Medical Center at the Stand Down. 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.

Headliner for last fall's Stand Down Veterans Affairs Director Dan Grant.

“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.

John Blanchard talked with folks in the service providers' room at Camp Algonquin.

“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.”

Veterans will also receive a number of amenities at the Stand Down, including free haircuts by SportClips of McHenry, Hair Cuttery out of Woodstock and Crystal Lakes very own Slims Barbershop.

Haircuts were provided by Cortney Thurman and Melissa Adam at the fall Stand Down.

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 8th. Individuals and organizations from the community have donated new and gently used clothing and shoes, new underwear and socks, and toiletries.

We are very grateful to local businesses and organizations that have stepped up and made donations to assist with the Stand Down. Those organizations are Kyoto’s, Pontarelli’s, Great American Bagel and Rosati’s of McHenry. The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Carpentersville Post 5915 will be strongly involved through volunteers and donations.

Volunteering last fall were Helen Jost, Richard Quick and Elaine Slack.

How can you help?

Donations are 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 tollfree 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 or please visit our website at www.nasaed.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.

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