Stand Down rally provides veterans with essential items, services

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Wisconsin National Guard Armory in Milwaukee was packed with veterans in need Saturday morning, February 22nd, as a local group works to provide assistance in any ways possible.

Whether in need of new clothing, job training or dental work, Stand Down, Inc. has a mission to help one veteran at a time.

"If we don't look after ourselves, who's going to?" asked Robert Hawkins, president of Stand Down, Inc.

In military terms, "stand down" is the act of taking combat troops from the battlefield to an environment that is safe and secure. For years that has been Hawkins' mission for local veterans -- with the battlefield being what veterans must face when returning home.

"Basically our government says 'you're in the service, you get out, bye. You're no use to us,'" said Hawkins.

Across the country an estimated 75,000 veterans are living on the streets. The Stand Down rally on Saturday is providing vets with donated essential items such as shaving cream, razors, soap, as well as services like vision screenings and haircuts.

Organizers of the event hope to help more than 100 veterans.

"I find myself as I step up, I can pull someone else up also," said veteran Larry Reed.

The next Stand Down rally is scheduled for September. If you would like to donate to the effort, CLICK HERE.