Gold Country Veterans Stand Down
A total of over 400 veterans participated in this year’s Stand Down, approximately one-quarter of them homeless who stayed overnight at the shelter provided at the Fairgrounds. Participants accessed a broad variety of health care resources available at the Stand Down. Clinical volunteers worked directly with the Veterans Administration Homeless Primary Care Team to provide medical care, enrollment and referrals to VA or other community resources. California Care Force volunteers provided an extensive array of dental and optical services, including restorations, extraction and preventive dental care. Mental health and substance abuse counseling and assistance were available as well through the Veterans Administration and other service providers, and representatives from Placer County helped veterans attending the Stand Down with enrollment in Medi-Cal and other assistance programs.
The Placer Nevada County Medical Society supports the Stand Down every year by recruiting medical staff for the event and helps to coordinate logistics and operations at the medical clinics. Kaiser Permanente emergency physician and PNCMS board member Michael Luszczak, DO, who helped coordinate support for the medical clinics, said, “I am grateful for the generous spirit of my colleagues and coworkers who cared enough to spend one of their days off helping serve those who have served our nation.”
The term “stand down” originated with the military, describing efforts to give battle-weary soldiers opportunities to gather in relatively safe and secure environments while they rest, recover, and take care of other essential needs. Modern community-based Stand Down events have been developed specifically for veterans facing challenges with homelessness, financial, legal, employment, and medical and family problems. The Stand Down events are designed to transform the despair and immobility of homelessness into the momentum to get into recovery, resolve legal issues, seek employment, access benefits, reconnect with the community and find permanent housing.