On September 11—a national day of service and remembrance—American Red Cross Cascades Region Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) volunteers honored homeless veterans at the Portland, Ore., Veterans Stand Down and Job Fair. The event provided a “one-stop-shop” for veterans to get a hot meal between gathering supplies and seeking out services such as haircuts, health screenings and housing solution referrals. Veterans were encouraged to visit at least ten different providers. The Red Cross specifically provided comfort kits. Veterans could pick up a pre-packed kit or build their own.
In addition to providing material necessities, the Red Cross helped to restore veterans’ dignity by providing hope and opportunity. Veterans were encouraged to seek out Red Cross resources such as resiliency, coping and reintegration education to help service members reengage in civilian life.
For retired Master Sergeant John Parish, who is also a Red Cross SAF volunteer, this event is a great a way to honor our veterans. “I love being part of the Red Cross and am proud to help others in this way,” he says.
Although every veteran had his or her unique story—some served decades ago and some served months ago—they all seemed to share one thing: a smile knowing the community cared.