Cortez Stand Down for Veterans Bigger Than Ever – The Journal
Over 170 veterans attended Saturday’s event
The third annual Montezuma Stand Down for Veterans event in Cortez took place on Saturday, with 38 vendors providing services to veterans.
Organized by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5231, the event took place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the annex building in Montezuma County.
Service providers and organizations such as Foreign War Veterans, Elks Lodge, Volunteers of America, Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs, and Southwest Center for Independence educate veterans about benefits and help them secure housing, medical, mental health, auto, legal and employment services – as well as other financial and personal benefits.
More than 170 veterans were in attendance on Saturday.
“We are just listening to their story and trying to help them,” said John Davis, event organizer and member of VFW Post 5231.
This year’s event garnered about double the donations of last year – not to mention the growing spike in attendance year over year that makes future suspensions likely, he said.
“It’s a very patriotic community, and we’re lucky to be a part of it,” Davis said.
Grants like the Veterans Trust Fund help organizations like the VFW help veterans, he said. For the year 2021-2022, the state grant was awarded to three organizations in southwest Colorado: VFW Post 5231, American Legion Post 75, and Veteran Assistance Disabled American Veterans Dunger-Smith, Chapter 44, according to the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. .
About 8%, or 2,197 of Montezuma County’s 26,183 residents, are veterans, according to 2019 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Several community organizations supported the event. A group of young people from Lighthouse Baptist Church sang the national anthem on Saturday morning, veterans could get free massages, hairstyles and runs. Food suppliers included Southwest Pizza, Bubba’s, and Croissant Cowboy.
Davis, along with other veteran advocates and event contributors, could offer countless examples of veterans whose lives were turned upside down by the annual event.
Last year, he said, a veteran came up with a deportation and didn’t know what to do.
“When he came out on the streets he was a new guy,” Davis said. “His life has changed.
David Nelson of the Southwest Center for Independence helped 12 homeless veterans find housing during last year’s event.
“That’s the power of that thing,” he said. “I only saw very few new faces, which means we did our job.”
It helps veterans receive all the benefits to which they are entitled.
“It’s not uncommon for people to have little gasps in life,” he said. “When it becomes recurring, that’s when they come to me and get to the root of the problem.
For Nelson and others, helping veterans get the care and resources they need is more than a day’s work.
“It’s an everyday fight,” he says. “It’s always a fight.”
One of its goals is adaptive technology and helps veterans and the elderly get captioned phones, which provide real-time textual adaptations of phone calls.
He plans an upcoming withdrawal for the Southern Ute tribe, although a date has yet to be selected.
Assistant to Senator Michael Bennet, as well as Assistant to Representative Lauren Boebert, were also present at the event.
Dan Foreman, one of the participants, was grateful for the housing and dental help he received.
“You take care of this, you have half your life included,” he joked.