The Western Mass Veterans Stand Down, an annual free, one-day resource event for veterans, will be held on Friday, Oct. 5, at the Greek Cultural Center in Springfield’s North End.
Stand Down will start at 8 a.m. at the Greek Cultural Center, 8 Plainfield St., with coffee and light refreshments followed by an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. that, this year, will honor women veterans.
An American Red Cross blood drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the Stand Down, and the Red Cross will also be providing free smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Gail Cavanaugh-McAuliffe of the Women Veterans’ Network of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services will speak. Mary Smith, a Springfield U.S. Army veteran of Operation Desert Storm, will be honored as Stand Down Veteran of the Year.
Bruce Marshall from the Valley’s Classic Hits, 97.7 FM and 1250 AM, will be broadcasting live.
A lunch featuring chicken and rice and various salads, courtesy of Betsy Sierra of Springfield, will be served from 1 to 2 p.m.
In addition to information on local, state and federal benefits, free legal advice, financial counseling, haircuts, flu shots, winter coats, winter clothing and insurance information will also be available.
A veterinarian will provide free services for veteran service animals.
A raffle will also be held for a veteran to win a refurbished 2006 Grand Prix motor vehicle.
In 2017, more than 70 organizations in western Massachusetts provided services and information at the Stand Down.
About 200 to 300 veterans from the region on average attend Stand Down.