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11th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down

11th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, and Capt. Heather Salyars, a member of the 325th Medical Operations Squadron, listen to experiences told by Air Force veteran Joan Chandler, during Operation Stand Down in Panama City, Fla., Sept. 27, 2018. Many Team Tyndall members went to the event and showcased the Air Force’s commitment to building positive relationships with communities surrounding bases and to ultimately continue to be a positive force in those communities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Miranda Simpson)

11th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Estrella Curry, a security forces specialist, carries a bag full of supplies for McHenry Littleton, a U.S. Marine veteran, during Operation Stand Down in Panama City, Fla., Sept. 27, 2018. Homeless veterans were paired with active duty military during the event to visit stations where they were given supplies such as food, hygiene items and blankets to people in the local community surrounding Tyndall who served and are in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Miranda Simpson)

11th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Estrella Curry, a security forces specialist, listens to the stories of McHenry Littleton, a homeless U.S. Marine veteran, during Operation Stand Down in Panama City, Fla., Sept. 27, 2018. Volunteers were paired with a veteran and asked to spend the day sharing stories and experiences with them while navigating a supply line, exploring benefit options and taking care of health related concerns. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Miranda Simpson)

11th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down

U.S. Air Force Col. Jefferson Hawkins, 325th Fighter Wing vice commander, speaks with a volunteer who handed out supplies during Operation Stand Down in Panama City, Fla., Sept. 27, 2018. Team Tyndall leadership visited the event to see what services were being provided to homeless veterans in need in a community closely tied to Tyndall Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Miranda Simpson)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

The 11th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down took place Sept. 27, 2018, at the First Baptist Church Family Life Center in Panama City. The event provided services to veterans in need as well as connected those who have served to those who are currently serving.

“It was encouraging to see a good chunk of volunteers from the Airmen tier,” said Master Sgt. Jeffery Hunter, 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant. “It’s important for folks that are new to the military to get involved with things going on in their community, not just on base.”

Hunter stated that there were over 100 volunteers from Team Tyndall, the Navy and the community who supported the event. There were 76 veterans in total who processed through the line and received some type of service.

“There were services available such as veteran affairs, the social security office, career source employment services, haircuts from Haney Technical School, dental checkup, vaccines, counselling and more,” Hunter said.

Veterans were also offered supplies such as canned food, sleeping bags, blankets and toiletries.

“I just think some of these veterans who may be homeless or have fallen on hard times deserve to feel like a normal person again,” Hunter said.

A way to help the veterans feel normal was to pair them with active duty personnel and have them share their stories and experiences with each other.

“My favorite part of today was conversing with the veterans,” said Airman 1st Class Estrella Curry, 325th Security Forces Squadron member.

Hunter also said pairing the veterans up with someone currently serving helped to reconnect them to a culture they once belonged to.

“Seeing volunteers from Tyndall and the Navy base integrating with community partners and seeing all the smiling faces shows it went well,” Hunter said.