More than 150 veterans who served from World War II through Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom attended the Chippewa Valley All Veteran Stand Down Event. It was hosted by ALA Wisconsin Unit 53 in September, according to the Leader-Telegram.
There, veterans received a collective thank-you along with clothing, food, and even haircuts.
“It’s fantastic that the veterans are finally recognized for their service,” said Randy King, 61, a Marine Corps veteran from Eau Claire.
The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Foundation helped support the event through a $500 sub grant. The sub grant was used exclusively for items needed for the veterans. Emergency tents, blankets, underwear, and socks were purchased along with many other items.
Veterans were also able to seek out jobs, housing information, free medical and dental consults, Hepatitis C testing, suicide prevention information, and consultations about benefits with representatives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and veterans service organizations.
Many veterans were surprised to see and hear what help is out there.
“I had no idea anyone did anything for us veterans,” “I’m in awe,” “God bless all of you,” and “Just unbelievable what you all are doing for the veterans” were some of the praises by veterans.
And the event was life changing for some. Four veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will receive service dogs after meeting with an organization that trains PTSD dogs.
“Our goal is to help as many veterans as we can and let them know how much we love and respect them,” said Jane Dale, chairwoman of the stand down donations committee and wife of an Air Force veteran. “They’ve given up so much for us. It’s the least we can do.”
American Legion Auxiliary units, districts/counties, or departments that have identified a source for grant funding from a foundation or corporation that requires the recipient to be a 501(c)(3) can have the ALA Foundation serve as the recipient. The ALA Foundation then, in turn, will sub grant to the unit, district/county, or department according to the terms and conditions of the grantor. For more information about ALA Foundation grants, visit www.ALAFoundation.org/grants.