TOGUS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center hosted its 19th annual "Homeless Veteran Stand Down" program Saturday to help veterans get the services they need to get back on their feet.
Veterans could select from roughly 40 services to choose from, including primary care, optometry, dental, podiatry, legal help, housing help, employment, clothing and even haircuts.
More than 60 veterans participated in the program, according to Togus voluntary service chief Lorna Hatch. Many of those veterans are homeless.
"Sometimes your homeless veterans feel like no one cares," Hatch said. "This is a wonderful opportunity to show them that a lot of people out there do care."
Veterans agreed that having all the services under one roof helped them enhance their ability to become independent again.
"You should always have hope – some kind of hope. It's as important as breathing and water and air," said Bill Marinelli, a Marine who was homeless for 2½ years. "There are still people that care about other people, and I'm incredibly grateful for that."
Marinelli is now a guide for fellow veterans now going through this program. He said that is the goal for many veterans who participate in the program.