The first-ever North Coast Stand Down ends today as the veterans who slept overnight at the Ferndale fairgrounds will be shuttled back to their homes, or for some, the streets they call home.
The Stand Down took place Saturday and Sunday, and brought in approximately 140 veterans through a shuttle service that ran as far north as Crescent City and as far south as Laytonville. Most of the veterans who came were from the Vietnam era, although some were from as early as World War II or as recent as the current war in Iraq.
“The turnout far exceeded our expectations; there were triple what we expected,” said coordinator Kim Hall. “Next year we will make it bigger, we will do it even better than before.”
More than a dozen veterans’ services, such as the Veterans Clinic, the Vet Center, Social Security Administration, the Job Market and Humboldt County Public Health, had booths to show veterans the services available to them.
Mary Baker, the team leader of the Eureka Vet Center, said that she helped approximately 100 veterans in the course of the two-day event.
“We provide counseling for veterans to help them get back into the flow of life,” Baker said. “We distribute government surplus, such as backpacks, cold weather gear and camping supplies to the vets that need it.”