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County veterans’ service improves

Volunteers sort donations for distribution at the stand down event on May 3.  - Courtesy photo
Volunteers sort donations for distribution at the stand down event on May 3.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

t Report shows areas of

progress.

Local veterans’ service is expanding and improving, according to a report presented Monday to the Kitsap County commissioners.

Human Services Planner Leif Bentsen presented a list of five areas of concentration: distribution of funds, activities of the local veterans’ board, “stand down” events, identification of service gaps and regional activities.

The stand down, scheduled for May 3 at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, is intended to give local veterans a road map to social services.

“The idea is to help people get on their feet,” Bentsen said, “not to offer them a handout.”

Bentsen cited statistics that claimed there were only about 85 homeless vets in Kitsap County, but said he felt that number represented an underestimation.

A different group will attend a regional conference on May 22, with a target audience of advisory boards, staff and volunteers from throughout the region.

Time and place is yet to be determined.

Bentsen said “stand down” is an old military term revived during the Vietnam War era, which loosely describes a period of rest and recreation following a spell of active duty.

The event will provide three levels of service:

• help with governmental bureaucracy will be available, including enrolling for benefits and helping with claims;

• tangible goods, such as clothing and health items, will be available; and,

• shots, showers, meals and haircuts will be offered to anyone who needs them.

Anyone who has served six months or more in the military will be eligible to participate, although they must bring their DD-214 or discharge papers.

Unaccompanied family members, spouse or children only, need to bring the vet’s DD-214 along with proof they are related to the veteran.

Last fall’s event was held at the larger Fairgrounds pavilion. Bentsen said the Presidents Hall is more suited for the event, especially considering that only a few hundred people may attend.

The event is held on the weekend, to accommodate working veterans.

For more information go to www.kitsapgov.com or call (360) 337-4883.

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