Story: Lane County Stand Down
After writing the book, “The Combat Trauma Healing Manual” we wanted to start a small group in Eugene. One of the churches provided a good space, and advertised the group for us. We talked with all those we knew. We prayed. And we prayed some more. A year later we had gotten pretty discouraged.
We had been participating in a monthly round-table group called Vet Net sponsored by the Vet Center. All organizations of all kinds who were serving veterans were welcome to come and update the group on what they were doing. It was a great way to learn of all the services available to veterans in the county. One of the events promoted was Lane County Stand Down.
“One of the biggest objectives of the annual Stand Down is to reach veterans who do not know that they are eligible for VA programs, and could very easily claim these benefits. Stand Down services are sometimes referred to as ‘Veterans helping Veterans’ and ‘Giving a hand up, not a hand out.’ Today, Stand Down is the annual celebration where local veterans are exposed to a variety of exhibits, and programs, many of which are unknown by the average veteran. A Stand Down operates at several levels; For Veterans and their families, a variety of programs from the VA, local support organizations, and fraternal organizations are exhibited. for the homeless, there are basic services, haircuts, clothes, and a hot meal. Housing, medical programs are offered as well.” — from LaneCountyStandDown.org
We volunteered to set up tables, prepare gift bags, serve food, whatever. We also had one of the many “vendor” tables, where we displayed “The Combat Trauma Healing Manual” and “When War Comes Home” and gave away camo-covered New Testaments. We also had a sign-up sheet for the small group, which we called Rally Point. To our surprise over twenty men and women signed up for more information.
After calling all of them, about half showed up for the next meeting. Not all were believers. More veterans came… Vietnam War veterans, Gulf War, OEF/OIF and others. Local counselors, who were not allowed to bring Christ into their counseling sessions, began to recommend the group to those who were looking for spiritual solutions.
Later a group of their wives began meeting to go through “When War Comes Home.” We called the group “Operation Always and Forever.” Some wives came whose husbands were not in Rally Point, but later started coming as they saw their wives growing in their faith.