‘Stand Down’ bring record help for veterans

Hundreds of Connecticut turned out for Veterans Stand Down day in Rocky Hill Friday (WTNH / Kevin Pflaumer)

ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH) – Connecticut’s annual Stand Down for veterans is happening today. A hundred different groups and organizations are all in one place for one reason: Helping out veterans like New Haven resident Stanley Green.

“Well, I went in in 1974, served until 1980,” Green said. “I’ve been to North Korea, Panama, Alaska.”

Now he’s here at what’s called Stand Down. In this one room, he can all different kinds of health care, some of it from Yale nurses. He can also get his eyes checked by professionals, courtesy of the Lions Club.

“There’s a couple of us optometrists here that are reviewing the information and advising the person whether they need to seek further eye care,” explained Dr. Stephen Polezonis of the Lions Club. “We’re looking for glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy.”

It’s all free for the veterans, but Stand Down is not just about health care. It’s called Stand Down because all the service organizations and departments across the state are told to stop what they’re doing and come here. All of them.

“Labor, employment, housing, educational assistance for our veterans here,” said Sean Connolly, Connecticut’s Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner. “Legal support, support for our veterans to access the federal benefits they’ve earned and deserve. Anything you can think of, it’s probably going to be here.”

Last year, around 900 veterans took advantage of everything Stand Down has to offer, and having it all in one place is a blessing for Stanley Green.

“The services are great, the people are great, and it’s wonderful,” Green said.

Stand Down is going on from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. today, Friday September 22. If you’re a veteran and you’re interested in anything from bunion care to kayak lessons, go to the DVA in Rocky Hill. If you can’t make, there is another event coming up in just 6 weeks at Mohegan Sun. It’s called Vets Rock. News8 is a proud sponsor, and there will be a lot of these organizations there, too. Vets Rock is on November 3rd.