Stand Down Invites Veterans & Families September 26
On Saturday, Sep. 26, the Eastern Montana Stand Down will be held at the Richland County Event Center, 2118 W Holly St., Sidney and all veterans and their families are invited to attend. Local service providers including representatives from Fort Peck Warrior Center, Montana Legal Services, VA’s Mobile Vet Center, VA Service Offices for Benefits and Homeless assistance, Guardian Foundation assisting homeless veterans, Volunteers of America –assisting homeless Veterans, Red Cross, Richland County Health Department, River Program, Lions Club – vision assessment, Shepherd of the Valley Church sponsoring Bible Sticks, Sunrise Women’s Clinic, VFW, and Dawson Community College will be there offering information and services.
Stand Downs are held all over the country, beginning in the mid 1980s when two Vietnam Vets working in Social Services, San Diego, CA decided to take action and help the homeless veteran population. Though eastern Montana doesn’t have an overwhelming population of homeless vets, the Stand Down is important none-the-less.
“People tend to think the Stand Down is only for homeless veterans and it’s not; we don’t have a lot of homeless vets but we do have a lot of at-risk veterans in our area and many people don’t know what services are available to them because there isn’t a VA presence. We encourage all vets and their families to attend. This is for everyone,” said Shannon Kadrmas, local Veteran’s Employment Representative.
Kadrmas researched the interest, service providers, volunteers, and available locations in regards to having a Stand Down in Eastern Montana and approached administration with the idea. After administrative approval, the first Eastern Montana Stand Down was held in 2010 and has taken place every year since, rotating between Glendive, Sidney, Miles City, and Poplar.
The Opening Ceremony will be from 8:30 - 9 am with Representatives speaking on behalf of Senators Tester and Daines and Governor Bullock. After the National Anthem, the Sidney VFW Color Guard will give a Presentation of Colors and Regional Director, Steve Olson will give a welcome speech. The Opening Ceremony is open to the public and is a wonderful way to show support and recognition for area veterans and all they’ve done.
“This is a great way for people to recognize them and get to know who the veterans are in their communities,” commented Kadrmas.
The Stand Down will be held from 9 am - 3 pm and veterans are encouraged to bring an official military ID to expedite the process, however no one will be turned away. Kadrmas estimates that between 500 and 700 vets have been served by the Stand Downs held since 2010. He notes that none would be possible without those who dedicate their time through volunteer services and would like to thank RSVP for all of their help. Volunteers are still needed and anyone interested can contact RSVP at 406-433-2207. Any monetary donations can be made payable to Eastern Montana Veteran’s Stand Down and dropped off or mailed to the Sidney Job Service, 211 N Central Ave., Sidney, MT, 59270.