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Veterans Stand Down provides services, access

The Daily Independent - 9/24/2018

Sept. 22--Veterans roamed the Kerr McGee Community Center Friday as they visited one of dozens of vendors available at the Ridgecrest Veteran Advisory Council's annual Stand Down.

Numerous agencies were available, ranging from the Veterans Administration to local service organizations and Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. Some VA centers were on hand to help facilitate photo ID cards and go over a list of benefits veterans are eligible to receive.

The Navy Sea Cadet's Sidewinder Squadron performed the opening ceremony by parading the colors.

According to Nick Coy with the RVAC, the event serves as a one-stop shop for veterans needs that are otherwise unavailable in the Indian Wells Valley.

"It's help for a lot of veterans that otherwise wouldn't get help for various reasons," Coy said. "I've spoken with some veterans who are getting up there in years, but have never signed up with the VA because they didn't need it. Now they do and wouldn't know where to go."

Resources and organizations come from all over, including from Bakersfield and Los Angeles.

"The Los Angeles Veterans Medical Center comes up here every year with a full crew and that's a big help because they can get people signed up," Coy said.

Coy said on a personal level, it's a chance to give back to the community.

Veteran William Willis said the stand down proves beneficial for veterans, whether they just looking or in active need of obtaining.

Willis said while he didn't need many of the services offered, the vendors were actively helpful.

"They were trying to give me things I told them I didn't need," Willis said. "It's an outstanding level of service. They certainly want to help."

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(c)2018 The Daily Independent, Ridgecrest, Calif.

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