'I got your back' culture displayed at Stand Down for veterans

JAVC President Pat Farrell (right) poses for a photo with an unidentified veteran at a previous year's Stand Down.

JAVC President Pat Farrell (right) poses for a photo with an unidentified veteran at a previous year's Stand Down.

KINGMAN – Looking out for veterans is of paramount importance to the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council, and that mentality will be on display at the 2018 Tri-State At-Risk Veterans Stand Down this weekend from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday at Bullhead City Community Park and Chamber of Commerce, 1251 Arizona Highway 95, in Bullhead City.

Pat Farrell, JAVC president, called attention to the many resources available in Mohave County for not only at-risk and homeless veterans, but veterans in general. These resources will be front and center at the Stand Down this weekend.

“It’s like a shopping center of resources,” he said. “They’re all in one place for a two-day period, and you can go down and see what’s available to you.”

Some 28 resources will be on hand for veterans to peruse. VA benefits and enrollment, legal assistance, family services and women’s resources are just some of what will be offered to veterans this weekend. Clothing, showers, haircuts and food round out less than half of services and assistance to be offered.

Veterans in need can utilize housing assistance and homeless resources at the event.

“I don’t believe that any veteran that doesn’t want to be out there should be out there,” Farrell said of homeless veterans.

Spiritual care, counseling and support group assistance will also have a presence at the Stand Down.

Farrell cited Arizona Violent Death Reporting System statistics in saying Arizona is ranked fourth in the country in terms of veteran-suicide rates. Mohave County has the highest occurrence of veteran suicides within the state at a rate well above the average for Arizona, at about 91 veteran suicides per 100,000 population.

“The VA has statistics that show three out of five people who get access to these resources won’t commit suicide,” he said. “Our job is to get them the help that they need, get them to the right resources.”

One of Farrell’s fondest memories is of the can-do attitude at the first inaugural event when five veterans were expected to attend, but 93 showed up. The past two years have seen about 390 veterans attend each year.

“This event is my favorite weekend of the year and it will be for you as well if you give it a chance,” Farrell said in an email to supporters.

Vendors and volunteers are asked to park as far away from the event as possible in order to accommodate attendees with disabilities. Transportation for veterans is available for both days if need be. For the transportation information schedule visit www.javc.org/Transportation.

For those unable to attend, the website also has a resources tab that will convey available resources and services for veterans by city.