This day, Stand Down, in which our Atlanta Homeless Veterans, men and women, some with children, could come and receive a hot meal, a shower, a haircut or style for the women, medical attention, legal assistance with a kind judge, review Veterans benefits, eye exams, x-rays, clothing, toiletries, the possibility of temporary or maybe permanent housing, a blanket, a backpack, boots and shoes. Veterans who were proud to have served America and spoke of days gone by; they smiled, shook our hands, blessed the volunteers for our kindness and brought tears to our eyes.
Mrs. Iola Green, Atlanta VA Medical Center Director of HCHV (Health Care Homeless Veterans) gave thanks to some 200 volunteers and yet she and her staff were the driving force behind the love and compassion shown to our nation's Veterans. She spoke to the 500 Homeless Veterans who attended the Decatur, GA location of the VA Medical Center who were transported by volunteer drivers and public transportation, the 29 Veterans who were served by the kind judge and attorneys, she spoke of the 19 landlords that came to give and offer shelter if they could, she spoke of the barbers and beauticians that stood in the parking lot with smiles on their faces and finally the local Veterans biker group that always come to help. She spoke with a voice of love for her Homeless Veterans here in Atlanta. God Bless you, Mrs. Green and your staff for hosting and coordinating the amazing event, the Atlanta's 2012 Homeless Veterans Stand Down.
As the day ended in late afternoon, I walked to my car and saw groups of Veterans, smiling and joking with volunteers. Then it hit me, they, our nation's Veterans, our sons and daughters were going back to the shelters or the streets to face another cold morning as homeless.
If you would like to learn more, get involved, call a shelter, call Mrs. Green at Atlanta VA Medical Center (phone 404-321-6111)