Veterans Stand Down set Thursday in Port Angeles

A wide range of services will be offered, and transportation for veterans is free through both Clallam and Jefferson transit systems.

PORT ANGELES — Voices for Veterans plans a Stand Down for veterans from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Clallam County Fairgrounds in Port Angeles.

John Braasche, the nonprofit’s president, expects more than 300 veterans and their family members will likely attend the Port Angeles Stand Down.

The 12th annual Stand Down at the fairgrounds at 1608 W. 16th St. will offer area veterans an opportunity to connect with more than 20 organizations in one place, offering services ranging from medical, dental, housing, employment and veteran benefits to counseling, haircuts, food, pet supplies and clothing.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and all costs are covered by Voices for Veterans, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting homeless veterans on the North Olympic Peninsula.

“Even if a veteran wants to come to the Stand Down just for a cup of coffee and some fellowship, they are more than welcome to come out just to come associate with other veterans,” Braasche said.

“If they are able to access some service they didn’t know was available, we’d be thrilled.”

The nonprofit also hosts Stand Downs in Forks and Port Townsend each year. Braasche said he has seen an increase in the number of veterans who attend.

“Usually during a year, we’ll see better than 600 veterans,” Braasche said. “This year, it will be probably 700.”

The increase in turnout shows Braasche that more needs to be done for those who served their country, he said.

“You see and hear all the news of how things are supposed to be so much better and you would expect the numbers to drop,” he said. “It doesn’t appear to be doing so.”

Braasche said one goal of the Stand Downs is to connect homeless veterans with services. Because the North Olympic Peninsula is so rural, it can be difficult for veterans to find services, he said.

Transportation for veterans is free through both Clallam and Jefferson transit systems, he said.

“Just tell the bus driver you are going to the stand down, and Voices for Veterans will pay for your ticket,” he said.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.

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