The date has been set. On Friday, November 13, the 13th Annual Homeless Veteran Stand Down will take place at Gulf Coast State College’s Student Union East Building.
“It is our pleasure to host this event on our Panama City campus,” said Dr. John Holdnak, President of Gulf Coast State College. “Gulf Coast State College is honored to be a part of this event. We have a rich history of supporting our military bases and veterans, and we believe strongly in helping those who have served our country and later found themselves homeless.”
Information provided by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports that the majority of homeless veterans are living in urban areas and suffering from mental illness, alcohol and/or drug abuse, or co-occurring disorders. Homeless veterans also account for 11 percent of the national homeless adult population.
“Our organization is dedicated to assisting military veterans and their families,” said George Hackett, Secretary of the Emerald Coast Veteran’s Golf Group, Inc (ECVGG). “For many years, we have been pleased to financially support CareerSource Gulf Coast’s mission to area homeless veterans through this event.”
The Homeless Veteran Stand Down event is modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations. At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment. Stand Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being.
The 13th annual event will have resources to help local homeless veterans take essential steps to improve their current conditions. There will be information regarding employment and education, medical screenings (including COVID-19 testing), social service assistance and VA benefits. Event participants will also receive non-perishable food, toiletries, clothing and sleeping bags, as well as a bagged lunch. The Bay Town Trolley is offering FREE transportation the day of the event to those who have proof of military service.
“It is important for us to give back to those who have made sacrifices for our country and now need our help. This event has the potential to change lives and help our homeless veterans get on a better path,” said Kim Bodine, Executive Director of CareerSource Gulf Coast. “We are grateful to the many partners including veterans’ organizations that help make this event possible and especially to Gulf Coast State College who is hosting the event this year with a larger venue so that folks can be spaced out in light of COVID 19.”
Due to COVID-19, there will be limitations on the number of individuals who can be present in a room at a given time, which will be closely monitored by event volunteers. Additionally, all event participants and staff/volunteers will be required to wear masks and have their temperatures taken before they are able to enter the building. Masks will be provided to those who do not already have one.
We’d like to recognize our current event volunteers and sponsors for their generous commitment to this event:
- = 90 Works
- = American Legion Post 402
- = Amvets Post 47
- = Bay County Health Department
- = Bay County Veteran Center
- = Bay Town Trolley
- = Disability Resource Center
- = Doorways of NWFL
- = Emerald Coast Veterans Golf Group
- = Family Service Agency
- = Florida Department of Veterans Affairs
- = Gulf Coast State College
- = Keystone Club - NSA-PC
- = Pancare
- = VA Hud/Vash
- = Veterans Task Force of NWFL
- = VFW Women’s Auxiliary
For more information about the 13th Annual Homeless Veteran Stand Down, please contact CareerSource Gulf Coast at careersourcegc.com or (850) 872-4340.