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Veterans get a helping hand Feb. 23 at Mohave County Stand Down

'Stand Down' designed for those who need assistance

Veterans who are homeless or on the ledge looking down can find a wide variety of help Feb. 23 in Bullhead City when the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council hosts its inaugural Veterans Stand Down event.

The Veterans Council will provide shuttle service throughout Mohave County.

The military term "stand down" has meant different things in different wars.

In today's military, the term means to relax. During the Vietnam War, stand down was used when an infantry unit returned to base camp after a lengthy patrol. There they would get refitted with clothes, boots, water and food.

Now, troubled veterans in the Kingman area have been asked to stand down so others can stand up.

For disabled veteran Pat Farrell, president of the Veterans Council and a former sailor, assisting veterans does more than help veterans. It also helps the community.

"Everybody we help is one less person the county and taxpayers have to worry about," he said.

Farrell, the inmate job coordinator at Arizona State Prison-Kingman, isn't sure how this event will play out.

He said his fledgling group of 14 members took over the project from another organization that gave up on the endeavor.

"We're kind of winging it," he sad. "But we've had a lot of cooperation."

Representatives from Arizona Department of Economic Security's veterans division will be on hand, as will others from the Family Assistance Administration, Veteran Affairs, Motor Vehicles Department, Southwest Behavioral Health, the Social Security Administration, the Mohave County Recorder and the Salvation Army.

Farrell said veterans can get help from any of these organizations, including a free health scan.

Help obtaining a state ID card or driver license will also be available.

"It's huge for folks to have some kind of ID when they're looking for a job," said Farrell.

Legal help will be provided to those who need it and there will be people there to help with housing, food and clothing needs as well.

Behavioral and mental health professionals will be available to any veteran who's having trouble coping.

"So many of our veterans are committing suicide," said Farrell. "Something needs to be done."

According to a recent VA study, about 22 veterans commit suicide each day. The good news is that suicides are down insofar as veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are concerned.

According to the study, however, about 70 percent of veterans who commit suicide are over 50 years old.

The Community Park on Highway 95 in Bullhead City is the venue for the Feb. 23 event, which will begin at 6 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. But getting there should be a breeze, as shuttles will run throughout the area.

In Kingman, veterans can catch the shuttle at 3150 Stockton Hill Road at 7 and 9 a.m.; the Cornerstone Mission at 3049 Sycamore Ave., at 7:15 and 9:15 a.m.; and the Salvation Army parking lot, 309 E. Beale St., at 7:30 and 9:30 a.m.

In Golden Valley, veterans can grab the shuttle at the Whatever Shoppe parking lot off of Highway 68 at 7:45 and 9:45 a.m.

Other locations include Laughlin, Golden Shores, Needles, Mohave Valley and Fort Mohave.

For more information, log on to the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council website, www.javc.org.


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