Operation Stand down performs valuable services for our homeless veterans by not only helping them with getting in off the streets, but with alcohol and drug abuse, job training and finding employment, etc. It is a fantastic organization with a wonderful leader, Bill Burleigh.
Today has been set aside as a Day to Honor Our Veterans. The article below is about our Homeless Veterans.
Tom & I spent a day at Operation Stand Down. The Veterans’ stories were very touching and filled with Hope!
“Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc (OSDN) is the primary nonprofit resource for veterans in Middle Tennessee providing life changing social services including transitional housing, or referrals, employment readiness training and placement assistance, and coordination of the activities of other agencies in the delivery of such services.
During the week of October 12, 2012, I had the opportunity to volunteer with this three day event for veterans who are homeless. I was able to meet, talk with and photograph several of the veterans taking advantage of the services offered by a coalition of over 50 Nashville organizations. Coalition members represent over 25 community services agencies, over 25 veteran service organizations, and many local businesses. The event provides outreach, information, and a variety of social services. The event has been held annually each fall for the past 20 years.
I quickly learned that being homeless, or at risk for homelessness, can be one of the most difficult things a person can face. There are many circumstances that can lead to homelessness. Some Veterans become homeless due to a combination of housing shortages and high unemployment. Other Veterans may be dealing with painful memories or health issues and have little access to health care or support from family and friends. This may lead them to feel as though they have nowhere else to go but the streets. In some cases, what seemed like a temporary lack of a place to stay becomes permanent.
While interviewing the Veterans one theme was the same; they were proud of their service to their country. When I asked a Vietnam veteran to describe to me his service with one word, his answer was “Joyful”. Some veterans battle drug and alcohol addictions for many years. OSDN and similar facilities like Pennroyal Vet Center the newest facility in southern Kentucky, offered Joe a drug and alcohol free facility where he can get the help he needs to get his life together. He received help to get his driver’s license. He has not had them since 1984. Doug has aspirations of being a cook.
Sitting down with Bill, a Korean War Veteran from Knoxville, I heard firsthand how his temporary circumstance lead him to be homeless, but knowing all of Bill’s story makes you want to reach out and help him to help himself. OSDN helped him to move to Nashville from Knoxville so he could be close to his son. OSDN gave him a safe place to stay and access to computers where he was able to apply and land a job. Bill now has a job and the self confidence for his future.
Help our Veterans, who have sacrificed so much for us!!! Our Freedom!
As a veteran of 21 years active duty, when I retired I was lost and was missing something in my life. After volunteering at one of thenStand Down Events, I was hooked. I volunteered for years with OSDN, and served on the Board of Directors for about 5 years. After 10 years working in the corporate world, I took a significant cut in pay to work for this organization. It was the best decision I made since leaving the Army. Miracles happen every day.
I was present at their first event in 1992. It was designed to help veterans who would not go to the VA. Physical and mental health issues were addressed at that event as well as assistance with clothing, food, shelter, job placement, legal issues and more. Over the years this veteran outreach has grown to include a permanent home, paid professional staff, its own thrift store and expanded services at the annual Operation Base Camp event. This one organization provides more direct assistance to local veterans than all the other veteran service organizations combine. They are worthy of the highest rating which can be given.
I've witnessed homeless veterans being given clothes, shoes, coats, health check-ups, dental check-ups, shower facilities, beds. It has been my pleasure to help serve dinners to over 400 veterans, to sit with many, to listen to them, to encourage them, to give them a smile. Operation Stand Down Nashville is a very caring and organized operation, and has been for more years than I've been a volunteer.
I work with Operation Stand Down every year that I can for the three day event. I serve meals to the Vets. That is the most rewarding weekend of the year for me. It is well staffedand well organized. If you ever get the chance to come to the event please do. It is so awesome. Come see the volunteers in action. The hair cut tent was the most fun. It is lively and this year had music playing. It was awesome. Many professionals give their time and I know it has to be rewarding and heart warming. I look forward to many more years feeding the Vererans! Keep up the good work!
I assisted in the registration of Homeless Veterans at the annual Operation Stand Down event in 2011 and was impressed with the care and assistance provided to needy Veterans during this event. James Howard
OSDN is one of the most well-run organizations I have ever had the privilege of working with. I have spent the last 6 years involved with OSDN providing volunteer mediator/legal-related services to their constituents. Bill Burleigh, his managers and staff are second-to-none in their commitment to making an immediate difference in the lives of each Veteran they meet. As a member of other VSO's I can confidently assert that OSDN makes a big difference in many Veterans' lives each day of the week. OSDN is worthy of any and all support available to them.
Operation Stand Down is a wonderful organization that helps so many on a limited budget. Last year, 90% of every dollar was spent on direct services for veterans so you can be sure your donations are well spent. You can very obviously tell that the people that work and volunteer there care for the veterans they serve.
It's difficult to find words that would truly reflect the impact that OSDN has had on the Volunteers and the witnessing of lives changed by the Veterans who came to the annual event. I Volunteered as a Nurse for OSDN last year and it was an experience I will not forget. To be in the presence of so many Veterans was an honor. Col. Bill Burleigh is a man of excellent character and he has accomplished what some may think impossible. He and his crew are dedicated to helping Veterans and deserve the highest level of respect. I remember one gentleman standing in the hallway saying in the hallway "Thank you...I don't believe this, thank you." he wasn't talking to anyone in particular but you could tell he received something that took years of hardship off his face. I'm ready to do this anytime when called upon and remain a supporter of this organization's honorable work.