Annual benefit held for homeless veterans

event seeks to give veterans a second chance

SAN ANTONIO - For 15 years, the American GI Forum has organized their annual Veterans' Day "Stand Down" event.

"What we're doing here with Stand Down is providing the homeless individuals an opportunity to come to a safe environment. They can receive food, flu shots, different things of that nature," said Van Mitchell, director of business operations at the American GI Forum's San Antonio Chapter.

Hundreds of homeless veterans took advantage of the event.

"It means a lot to us. It means that people come out here and take out their day to give back to us and it really means a lot to us," said U.S. Army veteran Paul Coons.

The event is designed to give the homeless veterans a day of respite from the stresses of their lives, hence the term "Stand Down."

The American G.I. Forum had many volunteers from organizations on hand today that were looking to give these veterans a chance at securing employment, and more permanent reprieve  from homelessness.

"We give a hand up, not a hand-out, and so we provide them with other services and capabilities because lots of the agencies that are here are able to get them into different programs to give them different assistance," said Mitchell.

That gives these veterans a little bit of hope for their future.

"It means that somebody does care," said U.S. Army veteran Efrain Garcia.


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