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History Of Veterans Stand Downs

Stand Downs are one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to provide services to veterans. Stand Downs are typically one to three day events providing services to Veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services. These include services such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment. 

Stand Down Las Vegas Event

Stand Downs are collaborative events, coordinated between local Veteran Administration offices, other government agencies, and community agencies who work to meet the evolving needs of our Veterans.


The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego. Since then, Stand Downs have been used as an effective tool in reaching out to Veterans, reaching more than 200,000 Veterans and their family members between 1994-2000.


Stand Down is aprogram that was conceived from the ground up specifically for Veterans. It is designed to transform the despair and immobility of into the momentum necessary to get into recovery, to resolve legal issues, to seek employment, to access health services and benefits, to reconnect with the community and to get off the streets.


The first Stand Down, under the auspices of the Vietnam Veterans of San Diego (VVSD), provided coordinated, comprehensive services to Veterans in need over a three-day period at one site. The intent was to bridge many of the physical and psychological barriers between service providers and recipients. Primary emphasis was placed on the creation of a community in which Veterans are treated with respect and given the opportunity to relax, interact and form ties with peers and volunteers while receiving much needed specific services. Stand Downs across the nation have helped thousands of Veterans since its inception.

Stand Down Orlando, FL Event

Stand Down began as the dream of Robert Van Keuren, then the Executive Director of VVSD, and Jon Nachison, Ph.D., Clinical Director of VVSD. Concerned about the increasing numbers of homeless Veterans coming to VVSD for services in the mid-80’s, Robert Van Keuren remembered Stand Down, respite he and his military unit were given after being particularly hard hit in Cambodia during the Vietnam war. He decided to create services at one site which had previously been scattered throughout San Diego County.

During canoe trips, He and Jon began working out the details, making great progress designing Stand Down. Thevwould be a community intervention which encouraged wide participation among service providers, both Veterans specific and general. They sought the opinions of Veterans from various segments of the community to develop a list of needs and develop a plan to help them as productive members.


And so, the San Diego dream became a reality and a model for the nation. Each year since the first, it has grown and been refined to meet the needs of our Veterans. Today, they have over 150 organizations/agencies and more than 2500 volunteers from all walks of life that make Stand Down happen. Perhaps the hallmark of success is that each year more of our volunteers were once participants, Veterans who have made the courageous move to change their lives and give back.

Since 1995 Central Ohio Stand Down continues to expand and meet the the ever-changing needs of our Veterans through it programming. Our service area includes, but not limited to, Franklin and the surrounding 10 counties.


We offer support and services in many varied areas that include: VA Medical Services, Agency Provider Services, Legal Aid, Veteran Recreation, Academic & Vocational Training, Job Opportunities, Home Essentials, Groceries, Haircuts, Housing, Veteran Art & Craft Therapies. All services are free to our Veteran Guests. Provider placement at Stand Down is free.

All Veterans are welcome to our annual Central Ohio Veterans Stand Down event!

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