August 5, 2014
Purdue University Calumet will host its third annual Stand Down from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8 at the Indiana National Guard Limited Army Aviation Support Facility, 6289 Industrial Highway, Gary (near the Gary Airport).
The event will offer services to veterans and their families including employment information, counseling services, health screenings, medical services, substance abuse treatment information, Veterans Administration (VA) and Social Security Benefits, and more.
A safe retreat
Modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War, a safe retreat is offered for veterans to receive medical and dental care, warm meals and to take care of personal hygiene. The 2014 Stand Down offers the above services and provides additional support including explanation of military benefits, opportunities to receive state identification/licensure on the spot and explanation of education benefits.
Prevention and hope
“The main purpose of the Stand Down is prevention,” according to Akili Shakur, assistant director of Purdue Calumet’s From Boots to Books: Veterans and Student Service Members Academic Support Program. “Our goal is to help them before they get to the point of feeling like there is no way up.”
Shakur, whose main goal is to provide treatment to all veterans, hopes to see this year’s event increase in attendance. Approximately 200 people attended the 2012 Stand Down, increasing to 300 in 2013. Shakur anticipates more than 400 people will attend this year.
“One war is not greater than another. Veterans are veterans and we want everyone to get the treatment they deserve,” she said.
Shakur notes that with 36,000 veterans in Lake County, the opportunity to reach veterans at the Stand Down is huge. “The idea behind this is to offer the services to those who need it the most.”
Activities and refreshments will be available for all who attend. Any veterans seeking help or information are invited to attend. For more information call (219) 989-2772.