St. Cloud Stand Down Provides Host of Veteran Services

St. Cloud Stand Down Provides Host of Veteran Services Click to Enlarge Photo:

Apr 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - Twice a year, veterans from around central Minnesota can access a comprehensive array of services, all in one place, and at one time.

Today is "St. Cloud Stand Down" at the St Cloud National Guard Armory.

The event offers everything from free employment and legal counsel, to haircuts and health screenings, and a free lunch for veterans.

Lori Helget is a member of the Stand Down executive board. She says the event, which has been hosted in St. Cloud since 1998, will likely draw between 400 and 500 people.

"From young to old, active to retired, homeless...we want to cover it all," Helget says. "We also have information on alcohol and gambling addiction problems. The more providers and services we have here, better we can serve any of the needs of anyone who walks through the door."

Jim Bestick agrees. He's the current chair of St. Cloud Stand Down. Bestick says many of the veterans they see during the event are receiving services at the nearby VA Health Center on a regular basis, and a big piece of their work is to build on those services, making sure veterans, particularly struggling veterans, have the basics covered to get them ready for the working world.

"Typically, you go to a program with little or nothing, and you leave with little or nothing," Bestick says. "So we really want to, at the very least, get warms clothes on them, boots, anything to get them ready for work."

Bestick says they typically see more veterans at the autumn Stand Down, where they provide winter clothing along with local judges who can help veterans with outstanding fines or penalties resolve them on the spot.

"St. Cloud Stand Down" wraps up today, but the next one will be hosted in October.

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