Homeless vets find resources & respect at a "Stand Down" - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Homeless vets find resources & respect at a "Stand Down"

"John" "John"
Marsha Joyner (center) Marsha Joyner (center)
"Christine" "Christine"
"Rocky" "Rocky"

By Steve Uyehara – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ten years after the September 11th attacks, there are an estimated 332 homeless veterans on Oahu.

Their military careers span the Korean War, Vietnam, and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Today they got a big -- thank you.

As each veteran stepped off the bus and onto the red carpet, they were met with applause, handshakes and, most importantly, respect.

A homeless vet named John said, "It's a great feeling that these guys show some love and they're aware of us and stuff".

This reporter asked him, "Is that a common thing?  Do you sometimes feel forgotten?".

John admitted, "Sometimes, yeah".

This is a "stand down."  It's a military term meaning a time of rest for weary soldiers fighting on the front line.  It's also come to be known as a day-long event for veterans to tap into some much needed resources.

Resources such as "Haircuts and clothes, medical exams, dental exams",  Marsha Joyner of the Korean War Veterans Association listed.  She went on to explain that, "The V.A. will help with any legal issues they have.  Most homeless don't walk around with their DD2-14, so they will find that for them and all of the other issues they have so they can get treatment."

It's a big help for someone like Christine who served in Iraq from 2004 to 2006.  She lost her husband and her mom while she was still overseas.

Christine shares, "It didn't catch me at the time because I was still in the war.  When I came back, it was really hard to tell my daughter and my son because you had to say it in a certain way to be calm and tell them that ‘your dad is no longer here'."

More than 100 veterans attended the event: each with his or her own struggles and triumphs.

Rocky was candid by saying, "Being one addict, and learning how to live clean is pretty good.  You know?  Coming off the streets, it's pretty good."

With a little help from these volunteers and their peers, they're that much closer to getting their lives on track.


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