Stand Down 2016
My name is Scott P., and this is my eighth year volunteering at Veteran’s Village of San Diego (VVSD) Stand Down. I am an ally to the military community of our country. As an ally, this is my way of saying thank you to the brave men and women who served or are currently serving our country to fight for our liberty and freedom. Also say thank you to all of the families for their sacrifices they make.
For all of you who don’t know what Stand Down is, I’ve included this link for you to read about it as well as view the short embedded video on the website. http://vvsd.net/about-stand-down/
I first became aware of Stand Down when Darcy Pavich, the Chaplin of VVSD cold called the marketing department when I was working at HP looking for printers to use for the event. I not only got her the printers she requested, but also aided her, by printing the weekend agenda for the event. I asked if I could volunteer at the event and I have been doing it ever since.
This year I was informed that there were 900 attendees receiving services. I volunteered Friday, Saturday 0600-1300, Sunday 0700-1300. My function at Stand Down was Volunteer Data Entry. Basically, I along with two other individuals enter the volunteer name, email, function, and organization. For the enlisted, the same information, along with their rank/class into the volunteer database.
This year there was a new Volunteer Coordinator, and day one went surprisingly well. All of the laptops were open powered up and databases loaded. That was in part due to Darcy preparing the database ahead of time. We were ready to roll! One of the dynamics of Friday, day one is the tumult of the morning. People getting their tent assignments, heading to the showers, getting their first meals etc. It can be kind of frenetic. This year was surprisingly calm. One of my favorite parts of the morning is when they present colors and sing the Star Spangled Banner. I get very emotional, feel real proud and am very humbled.
Day two ran smoothly, morning colors and my favorite breakfast of the weekend, sausage gravy on biscuits and eggs. Later in the morning, you hear the traditional speeches by the dignitaries and politicians. I am lucky that where I perform the duties of my job are in the Command Tent. I get to see a lot going on around me. I get to see the volunteers in their groups coming into the compound and getting oriented. It also is a short walk to the volunteer entry where we pick up the volunteer sign in sheets. I am under the impression that there are approximately 4500 people who sign up to volunteer. I am near the medical and dental units, as well as the necessary coffee station!
Day three, morning colors, pancakes, sausage and eggs! You can tell, I love the food they provide. There is a drum circle for about an hour. I can’t think that in a few hours, the veterans will hit the streets again, some will have been placed in some sort of shelter, apartments, group homes etc, and some they their own choosing is to go back to where they are most comfortable, on the streets.
The thing that I appreciate most about volunteering at Stand Down is the common cause of helping the homeless veteran attendees. I rarely put myself where there is so much care and concern about other people. Another realization that stays with me while I am volunteering there is a great big “There by the grace of GOD go I” lesson.
I am grateful for VVSD, I am grateful for Robert Van Keuren and Dr. Jon Nachison for started Stand Down in 1988 and serves as a national model across the United States.