'Stand Down To Homeless Veterans' attracts hundreds

'Stand Down To Homeless Veterans' attracts hundreds

MARION, IL (KFVS) - "No one left behind" often serves as the motto of soldiers in battle. And, workers at the Marion VA Medical Center believe the saying should apply to veterans, too.

"I had a nervous breakdown," said Wade Dishinger.

Dishinger spent five years with the US Coast Guard. The  job that took him all over the world, but it was when he came home that the problems started.

"I ended up with PTSD, I was on social security for my hospital needs and all that, I was almost bed ridden for two years," he said.

Then he found the VA Center in Marion.

"They took care of me in a whole different way then what the hospitals and social security was doing for me," said Dishinger.

Dishinger says it's events like this that do more for him than only someone in his shoes can understand.

"Just getting free samples and stuff and the extra needed soap and things like that on my low budget," he said.

Organizers say stand down is a hand up, not a handout and connects veterans with services that bring relief.

"It connects them with resources that they may not know that are available to them," said Justin Carver with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Thursday's event brought out hundreds of struggling veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless.

It's a problem thousands of veterans face when they hang up the uniform and try to find normalcy in civilian life.

Things like food, clothing and medical care are provided.

"it's great to give back to those who gave so much to us," said Carver.

What might be just the basics to some, Dishinger says it's covering all the bases for him.

"It lifts my morale, it shows that they care about them," said Dishinger.

More than 400 veterans came through by noon, the event ran until three and provided free lunch.

The Marion VA Medical Center system provides healthcare services to more than 42,000 veterans living in southern Illinois.

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