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Volunteers Hope To Help Veterans

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Healthcare, help with paperwork, clothing: all things available at this year's Yuba Sutter Stand Down event in Marysville.  But, some veterans don't take advantage of the things that might help them the most.

This weekend, 800 volunteers are staffing booths and tables for at least as many veterans.  

Kevin Lagos is a veteran and says he comes to the event every year.  Last year, he arranged to have several teeth pulled.

"We come here for basically everything, the haircuts, medical. I actually got my Social Security card back. I hadn't had it for four years," says Lagos. 

He says he's not looking for anything in particular this year, even though he's homeless.

Mike Nichols is president of the non-profit, Yuba Sutter Veterans Stand Down. He says the goal of the event is to make information available to veterans who can use it.

"It's similar to what a job is," Nichols says. "You work for a company. you retire from that company. And at retirement, you have certain benefits and these are the veterans we're trying to get these veterans to be aware of."

Debra Koehn is a volunteer.  She rode up from Turlock with her motorcycle club to help. 

"Veterans deserve to have a place where they can go and eat and get their health taken care of," Koehn says. "I just don't understand why they're homeless. But, I guess a lot of it has mental issues to do with it or they just can't afford a place to live. It's sad."   

The National Coalition for the Homeless estimates a-fifth to a-quarter of the nation's homeless previously served in the military.  Last week,the Department of Veterans Affairs announced $300 million in grants to programs that assist homeless veterans and at-risk families.
This is the fifteenth year for the Yuba Sutter Stand Down event.



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