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VFW POST HELPS ORGANIZE LOCAL STAND DOWN

Post 2948 connects veterans in need

VFW Post 2948 in International Falls, Minn. coordinated with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans to co-sponsor the third annual Stand Down in the area. The event connects veterans with each other and any assistance they may need. Various services were available on-site, including representatives from over 30 federal, state and county agencies ready to assist attendees.

Organizers also worked with area churches, service groups and nearby VFW Posts to arrange free transportation for any rural-area residents, knowing that distance from both the Stand Down and government offices prevents many from getting the assistance they need and deserve.

Turnout for the event has increased every year, and the past Stand Down saw more than 100 veterans pass through its doors.

Organizers worked with the local newspaper and a radio station to publicize the event. Posters were also placed throughout the area. Linda Chezick, President of Post 2948’s Ladies Auxiliary, knew simple word-of-mouth would help too. “One veteran always knows another who might need help. Veterans look out for one another,” she said.

Linda knows these Stand Downs are important. Programs and initiatives change over time, and it can be difficult to find the right person to answer a particular question. She hopes veterans leave with a better understanding of what’s available to them.

“Most veterans who come through our Stand Downs have been surprised by the amount of information and programs available,” said Linda. The event also lets people know who to contact for certain services. It’s the perfect opportunity for veterans to get all the information and help they need in one place.

Linda believes the event benefits veterans in another way too; it gives them the chance to visit with fellow veterans, even if it’s just over a cup of coffee. “Unless you’re a veteran, you can’t honestly say, ‘I know what you mean.’ Seeing veteran to veteran, you know they share a bond that only they can,” she said.

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