VA Medical Clinic hosts 18th annual Stand Down Against Homelessness

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - The Veterans Affairs Medical Center gave roughly 200 Lowcountry veterans a helping hand on Friday in the 18th annual Stand Down Against Homelessness event.

Stand Down Against Homelessness provides information and resources to homeless veterans and those at risk of being homeless.

"I see the struggles, I know the struggles. Personally in my heart, it's just something that I never want to see anyone have to go through," Stand Down Against Homelessness coordinator Brian Johnson said.

Johnson is an army veteran himself.

"I spent a few years in combat myself so it's deep inside my heart to help veterans and never see them struggle," he said.

"Freedom is never free and anytime someone goes out of their way to show appreciation, you should be involved in it," two-year Army veteran Wayne Relaford said. "If you don't get help, it's because you don't want help because help is out here for you."

Veterans were able to have a meal, get free haircuts, free clothing from Goodwill, learn about jobs in the community and the programs available to them.

"I didn't expect them to have jobs, screenings, flu shots, everything. I didn't think it would be like this," Laquetta Paylor said.

Paylor served 12 years in the Army.

"Seen a lot, done a lot, but I'm here," she said."There are still people around here smiling and I helped to do that. There's a lot of veteran homeless programs that they should know about. No veteran should be homeless. It's very awesome. It makes me feel appreciated."

The event was hosted at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center to also raise awareness that this facility is open Monday through Friday every week.

"Inside there we have our homeless staff. Someone can walk in and our staff will help them find placement, job services, legal services. It's a Stand Down every single day," Hugh Moirick said.

Moirick is the chief of mental health at the VA clinic as well as the chair for the Stand Down Against Homelessness committee.

Veterans at the event said the community should always lend a helping hand to those who put their life on the line for our country.

"These are the people that fought for us so we should take care of them. Period," Paylor said.

If you're interested in volunteering to help local veterans, call the Lowcountry Volunteer-4-Vets at (843)3648347.

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