1st annual Lake Chelan ‘Stand Down’ a success

Volunteers at the the 1st annual Lake Chelan ‘Stand Down’ helped make the event to support homeless veterans a success. Photos courtesy Norm Manly

Brianna Flott, (left) Brain Injury & Recovery Program and Specialist and Heather Bahme,(right) Brain Injury & Recovery Program Manager, both with the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

CHELAN - “The First Annual Lake Chelan “Stand Down”, held on November 12, at the Chelan VFW bunker, was a success. We are looking forward to next year’s event that will be bigger and better for veterans in the Lake Chelan Valley. A big thank you goes out to the Lake Chelan VFW, Manson American Legion and the Marine Corps League for sponsoring this event,” said Butch, Lake Chelan VFW Quartermaster.
What is a Stand Down? In times of war, exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover were removed from the battlefields to a place of relative security and safety. At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, acquire clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment.
Today, “Stand Down” refers to a grassroots, community-based intervention program designed to help the nation’s estimated 107,000 homeless veterans on any given night, cope with life on the streets. Homeless veterans are brought together in a single location and provided access to the community resources needed to begin addressing their individual problems to rebuild their lives.
The Chelan “Stand Down” received gear from the Department of Defense. Veterans were provided with boots, athletic shoes, cold weather gear, jackets, sleeping bags and much more. There were personal items like razors and cleaning supplies all free of charge. This is a huge benefit for veterans struggling in life.
In addition, veterans had the opportunity to meet with Heather Bahme, Brain Injury & Recovery Program Manager and Brianna Flott, Brain Injury & Recovery Program Specialist, both with the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. Barry Schettler, Vetcorps Navigator with the Chelan County Veteran Service Office in Wenatchee was there to help veterans apply for VA benefits.
Heather comes from the Spokane area and Brianna from Olympia. I asked, “Isn’t that a long way to come for just a few veterans?” Heather replied, “It would be worth it if we only helped one veteran, it’s that important.”
Butch, a member of the Lake Chelan VFW for 19 years, came up with the idea of holding a “Stand Down” in Chelan last September. “Over the years we noticed that at the end of every “Stand Down” there was gear that still needed to be placed in the hands of those in need. We coordinated efforts to round up excess gear from Puget Sound to Spokane to ensure that that the program’s intent would be met. Holding a “Stand Down” is a small way to support our veteran community. To be honest, it would be impossible to adequately compensate our veterans for loss of time and health issues they face. The Lake Chelan “Stand Down” is a great opportunity to do a good thing for people that deserve our help,” Butch said.
“The Lake Chelan “Stand Down” was a success because of people who stepped up and helped out. I would like to thank Chief Charlie Keeton, Robb Duff, Bob Hoots, Chuck Robinson, Pat Hautenne, Norm Manly and Mayor Bob Goedde for helping hand out gear. There were many people along the way that open doors and made things happen. I want to thank Steve Hampton from the Wenatchee Bunker, Central Washington Veterans Counseling, Heather Bahme, Colonel Dave Lucas, Gina Grabicki, Victor Kaech, Tony Sandoval, Heather and Colin Hill and a special thank you to KOZI Radio for getting the word out to the public,” Butch concluded.

Addresses wanted for those who are deployed

 The Cashmere American Legion Auxiliary #64 is looking for addresses of deployed soldiers to send holiday care boxes. If anyone has a loved one deployed or knows of one who would appreciate a care package from home and would like to share their address, please leave at the Cashmere Post Office, or call Linda Ingraham, 509-679-0243. A collection box for donations of snack and  personal items will be at the post office through the first week in December.

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