Volunteers provided shoes, blankets, toiletries and other items during a recent Stand Down at the Columbia VA Health Care System.
Veterans on the receiving and giving end of this event were grateful and appreciative.
Air Force Veteran Paul Williams said, “I am grateful for any help. I find myself, at times, just needing that extra bit to make it through the months. This is just in time.”
Various individuals and group charities donated the items to the Columbia VA Voluntary Service Office.
Army Veteran Vondell Davis, deputy for the Salvation Army Corps of Columbia, S.C., showed his appreciation to those who have served in service to this country.
Show them they are respected
“Being a Veteran of the Vietnam era, this is my way of giving back and showing a small token of my appreciation for their service,” Davis said.
Voluntary Service Specialist for the Columbia VA HCS, Wilfredo Solis, detailed the reason for the Stand Down.
“We have Veterans in our community who have needs more than just around holidays,” Solis said. “This is a way for us to continue to provide for their comfort and basic life necessities throughout the year.”
She added, “Being an Army Veteran, I feel this is a calling for me to continue to serve those who have come before, during and after my time in service.”
Army Veteran Michael Liles gathered a few of the donated items for a Veteran friend unable to attend. “This is a great way of showing compassion and helping the Veterans at the same time,” Liles said.
Nearly 300 Veterans attended.
Mary Kirkland, Voluntary Service Specialist: “This is the best stand down I have seen in my three years of working here at the VA. The volunteers were great, and most of all, the Veterans were appreciative.”
Jennifer Scales is a public affairs officer with the Columbia VA Health Care System.