Veterans Receive New Services At Annual Aid Event

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William Levy waits to try on a pair of boots supplied by a Nelsonville-based company. The free boots were offered at this year's Central Ohio Homeless Veterans Stand Down. The "Stand Down" offers free services such as health screenings and legal advice to homeless and low-income veterans.(Photo: Mandie Trimble, WOSU News Reporter)
William Levy waits to try on a pair of boots supplied by a Nelsonville-based company. The free boots were offered at this year's Central Ohio Homeless Veterans Stand Down. The "Stand Down" offers free services such as health screenings and legal advice to homeless and low-income veterans.(Photo: Mandie Trimble, WOSU News Reporter)

Homeless and low-income veterans received help yesterday at the 18th Central Ohio Homeless Veterans Stand Down held at the Franklin County Veterans’ Memorial. WOSU reports on two new offerings at this year’s event.

“You want to try a bigger size?” a volunteer asks a veteran who sits in front of stacks of Rocky Brand shoe boxes.

There were few boots to go around for homeless and low-income vets at last year’s “Stand Down.” Rocky Brands’ Liz Horn said the Buckeye Military Moms reached out to the Nelsonville-based company for help.

“They were here last year and there were about 350 veterans that came through and they only had three pairs of boots.”

Horn said her company brought about 500 pairs of boots. By lunchtime half were gone.

One pair went to William Levy who served in the Army from 1968 to 1971 during the Vietnam War.

“I don’t have the money to spend that kind of money on boots or shoes. So I get cheap tennis shoes and that keeps me going,” Levy said. “But this means a whole lot to me because winter time, I’m not sure where I’m going to be this year so having a set of boots that will keep me going means all the world to me.”

But some veterans need more than boots. Others have legal issues that may be hindering them from getting housing or a job.

While “Stand Down” offers pro-bono lawyers to answer legal questions, this year, they had Franklin County Municipal Court Judges who could resolve minor criminal offenses, an extension of the county’s veterans’ court.

Franklin County Court special docket coordinator Andrea Boxill said not everyone will see a judge.

“They’re asking questions about expungement, about what happens ‘if,’” she said. “The judge is going to see those who say, ‘yeah, I have an outstanding warrant and I want to take care of it.’”

In addition to the two new services, this year’s “Stand Down” offered free food, health screenings, vaccines, clothes, toiletries, and haircuts.

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