There were hundreds of veterans filling the American Legion hall in Jacksonville, North Carolina on Tuesday for the Sixth Annual Veterans Stand Down event. Though statistics would suggest there are less than 10 known homeless veterans in Onslow County, events like these say otherwise.
According to 9 WNCT, a local news station, the Veterans Stand Down provided an opportunity for homeless veterans and non-veterans alike to to find food, clothing and possible employment centrally located in one place.
Joseph Ramsey, a Marine veteran, was one of the homeless in attendance. After being deployed to the Middle East, Ramsey returned to post-traumatic stress disorder and other domestic trouble. He began to use drugs, which further disrupted his life after service. Despite his lifestyle, Ramsey tries to retain a sense of normalcy for his family, and events like this one help. His primary objectives on Tuesday were to find a job and resources to support his family.
"That's why we're here, trying to get some help you know, and I know we're going to get some good help here this year," he said.
With each new year, the number of homeless attending Veterans Stand Down has grown. But so too has the number of organizations there to provide help. WITN reported that 40 agencies set up tables at the most recent event.
"Anybody can come in and get a haircut, if they need to take a bath they can go next door and take a bath. We have shoes. We have hygiene goody bags if they're homeless, actually sleeping outside we have tents, we have sleeping bags," Kelley Hamilton, a disabled veterans outreach specialist, told 9 WNCT.
Some of the agencies in attendance were there to assist veterans with other types of issues, like mental illness, PTSD and addiction.