‘Stand Down’ helps veterans better their lives

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The military term “Stand Down” began during the Vietnam War. It was a short break for soldiers, so they could recharge and regroup before going back out to fight.

“We would rest for a couple of days, clean our weapons, get some new uniforms, new boots, and get ready to go back out,” Vietnam veteran, and chairman of the Veterans Stand Down event, Gumersindo Gomez explained.

Hundreds of veterans and their family members gathered in Springfield on Friday for the annual Veterans Stand Down event to do just that – recharge and regroup their civilian lives, by taking advantage of services offered for members of the military.

The event is one-stop shopping for everything from winter clothing to advice on veterans benefits, and flu shots. Attendees also learned of ways they can help out in their communities, like volunteering to support other veterans, at Baystate Hospice.

“They have a story that they share as a brotherhood,” Tanya Ellis of Baystate Hospice said. “So when they are on hospice, they are going to tell their stories to someone who has also experienced the same thing.”

Veterans said Stand Down is an important time where they can just be together.

“The Coast Guard, Army, Marines, all of them. It’s very enjoyable to see all the veterans together,” veteran Tom Patrick told 22News.

Veterans Stand Down goes until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, at the Greek Cultural Center in Springfield.

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