Clarksburg VA Hospital and partnering organizations came together at the New Fairmont Armory to host the fifth annual ‘Veteran Stand Down’ event.
” Stand Down was for originally for homeless veterans, but we realize that it could be an event for all veterans so that’s why we invited state, federal and community agencies here to make a resource fair for veterans to come,” said Amber Kovach, homeless program manager of Clarksburg VA Hospital.
During the resource fair, veterans were able to meet with representatives from a host of companies that provided opportunities involving health screenings, social security benefit counseling and employment opportunities. All opportunities that army veteran William Watkins, feels helped bring him out of his hard times.
“If it wasn’t for these resources, my life would not be where it’s at today. Now I have my own place, my own car, I’m about to have a kid, I have a fiancé. I have become a normal part of the regular day society, and it would have never happened if it wasn’t for the VA and all of its resources,” said Watkins.
Watkins said he believes all of the resources have equal importance, but what really helped him was the Mountaineer Food Bank.
“When I first got into my apartment, I was struggling financially and I was able to get food through them. It’s just a box maybe this big [gestures size of a box with his hands] of food, but it makes a huge help [and] a huge difference, so I would probably say they’re the best with getting veterans on the street and all things like that being able to give them the nutrition that they need.” said Watkins.
Kovach says with testimonies like that of Watkins’, each organization is driven to stand down for our veterans so they can proudly stand up.
“We just want to reach out to any veteran that we can, so we hope that every year that we grow [and] more veterans will come [and] they will learn about the community resources and be able to get any help that they need.” said Kovach.