FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A non-profit group is supporting Central Valley veterans by connecting them with more than 60 services at the 32nd annual Central Valley Veterans Stand Down.
“I enjoy the company, I enjoy the veterans, I enjoy the stories,” shared Vietnam War veteran Jess Gonzalez
The four-day event helps those who served their country connect to resources.
“We have everything from optical, dental, medical, we have legal services, we have DMV, we have VA,” said John Schuler, Central Valley Veterans Stand Down director.
There are flu and COVID vaccines on site, too, as well as haircuts, showers, and a place to spend the night.
Schuler also works with vets in need of permanent housing. He said many people don’t understand the unique challenges they face.
“They think of the homeless as veterans that are on substances. It’s not – it’s about PTSD, it’s about brain injury, things like that and they can’t work.”
“I struggle with PTSD, depression,” Navy veteran Baldomero Galindo shared. “I got out in 1975 and when we got out there wasn’t much help as far as resources.”
“And that’s where a lot of veterans kind of fall out because when they get out, they don’t know what to do,” said Schuler. “My pay is to see a veteran come off the streets, come up off his knees. Our motto has always been about a hand-up, not a handout. It’s the labor of love.”
The Central Valley Veterans Stand Down event has been held in Fresno for the last 32 years. For more information, visit their website.