VA and community volunteers assisted hundreds of DC Veterans

A cold, rainy day couldn’t keep the volunteers from the Winter Haven Stand Down. As the hundreds of Veterans entered the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center from the frigid weather outside, they were welcomed with sharing smiles, handshakes, words of encouragement and expressions of gratitude for their service.

Veterans eagerly navigated the various stations to receive medical care, clothes, toiletries, back packs, duffel bags and information on VA benefits and services. Many took advantage of the opportunity to chat with comrades during breakfast and lunch. Some shared stories of their hardship and the desire to be in a better place next year.

Winter Haven Stand Down

Veterans attending the Winter Haven Stand Down received medical care, clothes, toiletries, back packs and duffel bags, along with information on VA benefits and services.

The annual stand down is more than sharing handouts with our Veterans.

“Stand down is about wrapping around our Veterans,” said Brian Hawkins, D.C. VA Medical Center director. “WRAP means Warriors Receiving Assistance to Propel forward. The community comes together on this day to wrap their hands around our Veterans—not only this day, but to continue every day, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day—to ensure that no Veteran goes homeless or is at risk of going homeless.”

While walking through the medical facility, Veteran Steven Hardy didn’t hesitate to show his gratitude. “I am really proud that they are looking out for my health,” he said. “The people here are so friendly, and I enjoyed the breakfast they gave us. Thank you very much.”

In her 28 years as a VA employee, Wanda Rump has volunteered at several stand down events like Winter Haven. She’s not alone. Sue Carney, of the American Postal Workers Union, has been a community supporter for nine consecutive years. While working the registration desk, both Rump and Carney understand that they are sometimes the first person a Veteran meets when registering for VA benefits and services.

“I just enjoy working with Veterans,” Rump said.

“Our Veterans are owed a lifetime of gratitude,” Carney added.

VA—and community volunteers like Rump and Carney—rallied together to support the hundreds of Veterans encountering the frigid weather looking for help—not hand-outs—and a sense of hope. Supporting them was a WRAP.

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Published on Jan. 27, 2015

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  1. August February 5, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    All the homeless veterans left the Stand down event STILL HOMELESS & UNEMPLOYED.

  2. douglas oakes sr January 27, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    god bless the va hospital aat Nashville tn and dr Kelly my primary doctor and all the people at va in Nashville tn

  3. Danny January 27, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    The problem with the VETERANS Administration is generally not with the majority of the VETERANS Administration employees. Money is not even the problem; the distribution of the money HAS BEEN the problem. I feel Secretary McDonald has taken care of that, at least temporarily, by suspending all bonuses. Having worked at the VETERANS Administration, I know that many of the employees really want to help the veterans. While this type of event is greatly appreciated, it is basically cosmetics. Politics, greed, & excessive egos are, in my opinion, at the root of the problem. I wonder, since the VETERANS Administration is a federal entity, would we have these problems if ALL politicians & federal government employees were required to utilize the VETERANS Administration facilities? Thank You for all of the extra time and effort that goes into these kinds of events!

    • Patrick Bryant February 5, 2015 at 2:41 am

      I like to know when Stand Down takes place an where, many veteran’s need this, so give us a chance to settle some of these legal issue’s,thank you.

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