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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Operation Stand Down Tennessee

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: Operation Stand Down Tennessee provides and connects Veterans and their families with comprehensive resources focused on transition, employment, housing, benefits, peer engagement, volunteerism and connection to the community.

Target demographics: Veterans and their families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2,981 Veterans from our Veteran Service Centers (VSC) in Nashville and Clarksville.

Geographic areas served: Middle Tennessee

Programs: comprehensive resources focused on transition, employment, housing, benefits, peer engagement, volunteerism and connection to the community.

Community Stories

44 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 WBGraham

Board Member

Rating: 5

After spending five years working for the federal government then retiring from the Army after 25 years of service as Lieutenant Colonel, continuing to serve was high on my list of things to do when I retired 10 years ago in 2003. I found out about Operation Stand Down Nashville while volunteering at one of the Annual Events with Women Veterans of America Chapter 20 and after learning about the mission of serving honorably discharged veterans especially homeless veterans, I was ready to give more of my time, talent, and treasure to such a worthy organization. I've been on the board for over four years and I am the one being blessed by my association with an organization filled with dedicated veteran employees, staff, and board members providing a hand-up to our most deserving in our community. I serve on two other boards of directors and their work is very important, too but the difference we make in the lives of veterans at Operation Stand Down, Nashville is exceptional. Serving those who have already given their all to our nation is truly an honor. Our Executive Director, Bill Burleigh and our Deputy Director, Mary Ross are the most dedicated individuals I have had the privilege of serving with as a member of the board. They always but the mission and goals of OSDN first which is taking care of our veterans. This is absolutely the best non-profit anywhere working to help our veterans

1 Richard58

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great organization serving honorably discharged veterans. Number served annually far exceeds Wounded Warrior's work. Hard working, effective, and dedicated group of individuals who for too long have operated below the radar. It's time for some well deserved public recognition.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In this day and age of so many veteran charities out there and with most of those being a cover to enrich the officers of the charity, we must be beware of who we give to. I can personally vouch for the honesty of this organization. I am not a member of this organization, but have assisted them in the past. I also have been the State Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (a veteran's organization composed of only Purple Heart Veterans) for the state of Tennessee 4 times and I raised funds for them and even assisted in improving some of their homes for the homeless veterans, both male and females. I, myself rate them as the best veteran charity in Tennessee and would even place them above the known national veteran's charities to receive any donation and assistance that a person/organization has or can do. CW3 Sid Shown, U. S. Army (Retired).

2 Andrea51

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 Teresa17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!



Rhonda11

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am the wife of a soldier and a mother of a soldier and know first hand the sacrifices that our veterans have made for the citizens of the United States of America. Sometimes veterans need a "hand up". That is what Operation Stand Down provides. The organization is very professionally and efficiently ran by a team of veterans. The services Operation Stand Down provides is making a tremendous impact on veterans that need assistance. I am honored to give my time and resources to assist this organization.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came to this organization in 1999 as a client, when they helped me through a dark period of my life. I felt so grateful to this organization that I served on the Board for the next ten years. Now to further give back to OSDN's mission and our military veterans, I have been employed by them for over four years. OSDN has helped many thousands of veterans through difficult times in their lives. Thanks Richard

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant and Veteran Service Officer for a large county, I can say that Operation Stand Down Nashville Inc is vital to the veteran community. Without them, countless veterans would be on the street with no hope. They are an effectively run organization that provides housing, work opportunities and all types of support for veterans in need. They use their resources wisely and their professionalism is evident in all they do. Please support their endeavors.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I love Operation Stand Nashville, Ink. over the years it has helped our homeless veterans to gain more respect for themselves. They supply our veterans with free haircuts, doctors visits, Dentist visits, food, clothes,and other items. They help to find home, jobs. This group in Nashville works very hard for our HEROs who have done so much for us. Thank you Operation Stand Down Nashville, and thank you for taking such good care of our HEROS!

1 Mary126

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Larry17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

vjdj

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Dave35

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

There are many organizations that claim to assist Veterans in their time of need, and most do a good job. But Operation Stand Down Nashville goes way above and beyond that standard. Partnering with many other agencies in the Nashville area, including the VA Hospital, the VA Regional Office and other local charities and non-profits, the Veteran who comes in for service at OSDN is referred to whatever agency or agencies are suited to help the person the best. The most important and unique thing is that once the process starts, OSDN tracks the progress, following up throughout the process. They give the Veteran positive motivation to continue forward and that helps to ensure the greatest chance of being successful. The staff at OSDN are mostly Veterans, so it's Veterans assisting Veterans. It never ceases to amaze me how the staff performs their duties and how much they really do care for the Veterans they serve.

Advisor

Rating: 5

OSDN is a great organization that gives back to the veteran community in so many ways. They don't give "hand outs" but rather "hands up" to help veterans get back on their feet!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Jc__2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Last I heard, Operation Stand Down Nashville spent $.90 of every dollar donated to the Veteran they serve. I don't know of many other non-profits, locally or nationally that is as efficient. The 20th Annual Stand Down Event was a model for Stand Downs in any city, hopefully to be copied by other missions to assist all populations in need of services.

Jim_40

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am with the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs in Nashville, TN. I work closely with Bill and his staff and applaud the good work they do for our veterans who are down on their luck. I have worked with them for years during their big OSD usually in October. They make every effort to assist veterans with anything they need to help get them back on their feet.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

richard-aberdeen

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Operation Stand Down is the best organization I am aware of for helping homeless veterans and other veterans in need. This organization consistently year after year continues to do excellent work in the greater Nashville area. As I have also done previously, Operation Stand Down has my highest recommendation. --Richard Aberdeen; Freedom Tracks Records, Nashville, Tennessee

Previous Stories
8

Donor

Rating: 5

Bill Burleigh of Operation Stand Down Nashville was more than willing to give me a personal tour of the facilities. Having lived in Nashville approximately six years now, it has been my consistent experience that Operation Stand Down Nashville is one of the best non-profits in the area. They make every effort to help homeless and impoverished veterans in need and I consider this organization to be a great blessing for the general Nashville area and community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 Amy_58

Donor

Rating: 5

OSD is a very well run organization that positively impacts the lives of hundreds of veterans in our community. The staff is professional and hard working to ensure all donations are put to good use. The services offered by OSD provide opportunities to veterans that lead to substantial progress in re-entering the workforce or regaining the ability to live independently. Bill Burleigh and his staff have developed an outstanding nonprofit for the Middle Tennessee region.

Chuck9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

OSDN is the only organization in Middle Tennessee creating the kind of environment and success rate necessary for our veterans. As a veteran myself I volunteer when I can, but these folk put their heart and soul into it everyday. From the smiling faces that greet you at the office and thrift store to the counselors that help with employment and training this is an outstanding group of human beings. Their financial numbers speak volumes about how a non-profit should and can be run. I don't know what the community would do without OSDN.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to visit, donate and talk with volunteers, participants, and Colonel Bill Burleigh of Operation Stand Down Nashville, Tennessee. As a retired Marine, anything I can donate goes to OSDN because I know it will go to someone who can genuinely use it. The staff and leadership of OSDN is not only competenet and compassionate about what they do, but they are also always going to do the right thing. I believe we owe our veterans a debt and to ensure they receive what they deserve and any opportunity we can convey to them. OSDN ensures that happens and that the veterans they serve are well taken care of. Semper-Fi.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was first referred to Operation Stand Down by my V.A. Rep. in Lawrenceburg,TN after my business was wiped out by 911 and I found myself back in the job market after over thirty years of business; much had changed and I had to return to school to catch up on technology. After thirty credit hours, I qualified for a co-op education program, which gave school credits for returning to work, I had been unempoloyed for two years and I had no income. I had to relocate to Nashville about 100 miles away. I called and spoke with a OSD counsoler and he called back in two days and said that he had located a place for me to stay, that would give me time to find work, and get my school grant. When I arrived, OSD helped me find employment, and when I qualified for a State Internship, OSD was my third reference. When the engine in my car blew, driving to school, OSD helped me with bus passes for work and school all the way through my last simester. Now, due to all the assistance that I received from OSD, I have a degree in Computer Technology Management, with a minor in Business Adminstration and have several honors and awards as well as job referrences from the State Senate and House of Representatives and am a proud volunteer for Operation Stand Down. Sincerely, Garry L. Thomas

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have an indirect link to a story about this group. I was the Patroit Guard Riders ride captain for a Vietnam Vet's funeral in Jackson TN. One of their clients was our honoree that day. Michael had been homeless for many years. months prior to his death, he had been working with OSDN and had found employnment a home and more important, reconciled with his family. Had it not been for Operation Stand Down NASHVILLE- Michael most likely would have spent his last days in a vacant lot tent city too weak to fend off the predatory efforts of others. Instead, he was in a hospital and the woman who loved him at his side. His family felt like things had turned for him and he had made ammends never knowing he was going to be sick and die when he did. Michael is not the only story of success, but the only one I have first hand knowledge of. I am proud to be PGR and that PGR has partnered with this organization on a state wide level. I wish we could get one started here in Jackson TN and Memphis regions! I would surely take an active role!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Operation Stand Down Nashville's annual weekend event helps homeless veteran secure full time permenent employment, solve legal issues, connect with the VA, provide mail box address, and work with substance abuse issues for hundreds of veterans who are homeless. The Stand Down event is a one time assist to these veterans each year, however they assist veterans in all of these same areas all year. They have an outstanding success rate in moving veterans off the street and to become a productive citizen again.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had an opportunity to talk and visit with a great deal of Veterans and was able to help a few I believe this program is an excellent way of helping those who served our country in the military I feel that this program needs to reach other parts of the State of Tennessee and not Nashville area

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have nothing but GOOD things to say about this organization. It warms my heart to see veterans helping veterans,but also those who didnt serve,giving there time for those in need.I have been involved for several years now,and every year has been rewarding.When I retire,I WILL voluteer to work full time.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

An incredible organization made up primarily of veterans who work daily to improve the lives of homeless and at risk veterans in and around Nashville, Tennessee. If you know of a veteran in need, do not hesitate to refer him/her to Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Operation Stand Down Nashville for three years. I have worked both at the annual event and volunteered for the daily office support. I can think of no better organization to identify as a leader in nonprofit service providers. They consistently lead in service percentages based on donations. The diversity of services that they provide to the veterans in almost unbelievable. The number of sucesses exceeds all superlatives I know. They do not give up on people but continue to encourage, support and welcome individuals to make the changes necessary to achieve selfsustainabilty.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to help in this organization by donating both time and clothing. Bill Burleigh has done a great job help veterans

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I know of no other organization that does more for the homeless American Vet, our American Hero's, than Operation Stand Down Nashville!

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved in the annual Operation Stand Down for Homeless Veterans since the time. The VA Dental Clinic does oral cancer screenings and dental health education. We tried to steer the vets who were most likely not eligible for VA Dental Care to private sources who might could help them with their needs.

8

Former staff

Rating: 5

StandDown, Nashville began when several caring individuals gathered at the Maxwell House Hotel on 8th Ave N, to hear a presentation about other like type organizations in the US, especially in CA. It has grown from that meeting and its first 3 day event, which by the way, cost less than $5000 in donated money to the outstanding organization it is today. Its strength has always been the Nashville VA Hospital, Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, State Employment Security, Metro Nashville Govt Agencies and employees, the various Veterans Organizations, Bell South Volunteers, Tennessee National Guard, (Army and Air) and all of the volunteers who have come out each year. It is wonderful to see the mission of Stand Down grow and assist in many ways never envisioned. I am very proud to have been a part of this truly outstanding accomplishment. Ron Moore, COL (R), US Army

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Through my personal volunteer experience with the OSDN Staff and its' fellow volunteers, I have witnessed true, compassionate caring for our veterans. The Staff excels in their work and the new facility is conducive to better serving their clients.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every member of the OSDN team is 100% committed to serving Veterans. Each person I met was enthusiastic about OSDN's mission. I was surprised by my experience as a first-time volunteer. I had no idea how much FUN it would be!

12

Donor

Rating: 5

Operation Stand Down is a non profit that truly has the Veterans on their minds at all times. They are expertly run, and the operation is efficient and safe. They do an excellent job of including all Veterans and their staff is friendly and helpful. I am proud to have donated time and funds to their cause, and I only wish more non profits ran as well as Operation Stand Down Nashville. I highly recommend them!

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege and the honor to sing for the weekend Retreat for Operation Standdown for our soldiers. The soldiers were counseled, clothed, fed and given hope. They shared their stories with me and led me to tears. I sang my songs to them and led them to tears as well. I could not have found a more worthy organization to support and look forward to working with them again very soon!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am one of several Vietnam veterans that have attended Thursday night meetings at Operation STand Down for as long as thtey hve been an organization. We actually stearted about 20 years ago with another organization, but the folks at OSD welcomed us with open arms. We meet every Thursday night and share supper and help each other by listening and giving teh same we did in 'Nam - our lives. We are as close as we were with our battlefield companions from so long ago and are the epitomy of brothers in arms. We'd fight and die for each other the same as in our combat days; thankfully, that is no longer required! They charge us nothing, and gain only an occasional left-over brownie and the satisfaction of knowing they are helping us. We are known at VA as the Thursday night PTSD group, and though not sanctioned by them, we have helped about 50 veterans receive disabilities and get thier lives back on a livable track. We march every year with the OSDN group in the Veteran's Day parade and give back our personal services when we can. If there is a better organization serving veterans in the middle Tennessee area, I don't know of it. We appreciate their confidence and friendship and they rank first in our hearts.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a community volunteer and my time, as is everyone's, a precious commodity. When asked to work with this organization, I did not hesitate because its mission is at this time in US history and because the leaders of OSDN know how to operate a not-for-profit and how to use volunteers' time well!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After working with OSD for several months, I continue to discover new depths of caring, and giving to the homeless veteran community in middle Tennessee. This is truly a passionate, caring group of individuals who work tirelessly to get these deserving men, and women back on their feet. I have done a lot of volunteer work in the past, but nowhere have I found an organization with the heart, and soul to equal Operation Stand Down.