Helping Central Valley Veterans 'Stand Down'

FRESNO, Calif.

For nearly a decade American service members have been engaged in two brutal wars in the Middle East. Fresno's Vince Garcia served two tours in Iraq with the Marine Corps. "After I got out I kind of missed the whole military aspect of it and not being in the service."

Clifford Collins served in the late 1980's when drugs were taking hold of many young Americans. Years later he and his wife ended up at the Poverlello House. But last year's 'Stand Down' Brought them new resources, a place to live and a new focus on life.

"Furthering my education. Cause I want to go back to school," said Collins. "I want to go to Fresno City and become a substance abuse counselor. That's what I want to do."

Lingering fall out among veterans of all ages led to the so-called 'Stand Down' ... in war it is a rest from battle.

For three days individuals and families will rest, recharge and connect with available community resources at this years 'Stand Down'.

Too often when the military pay check is gone ... They are left without income.

John Schuler said, "They're coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan wherever and they're moving in to mom and dad's garage or sister Mary's couch and their homeless."

Schuler is a Vietnam era vet looking out for the new generation and so is Keith Rudolph.

"I don't know how they do it," said Rudolph. "They go two, three, four tours. Like John says the family is the one who is suffering."

For current era vets like Garcia his support for fellow veterans has become his work in civilian life. "It's a good investment because you're giving back to those who sacrificed so much for the day to day freedom we utilize every single day."

On September 21st ... The annual 3-day 'Stand Down' will happen here. V.F.W post 89-hundred will open to vets of all ages to 'Stand Down' from their burdens.

Donations in this recession have not yet met the costs, but organizers hope the community will help meet the needs of every veteran needing to 'Stand Down'.

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