A Stand Down is an event that provides supplies and services specifically to homeless veterans.
The event was held at the Bangor Community Based Outpatient Clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
David Richmond, director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services, said there are currently 198 veterans experiencing homelessness in the state of Maine. He said the Stand Down events are intended to provide assistance not only to veterans who are homeless but also to those who are at risk of becoming homeless.
A number of organizations at the event offered various services including information on healthcare, finances, and housing. Another group brought cold-weather gear like hats coats, boots, and gloves. Medical screenings, flu shots, COVID-19 vaccines, and booster shots were also offered.
Ed Harmon, president of Boothbay Veterans Emergency Temporary Shelter (V.E.T.S.), Inc., is a Vietnam War veteran. Since 2018, Harmon's been building trailers for homeless veterans. Along with a bed, these trailers have a carbon monoxide sensor, smoke detector, heat, microwave, refrigerator, and an emergency portable toilet.
"We have one vet right now that's been in it over eight and a half months in a trailer, who was found in Acadia National Park sleeping on the ground for one hundred days… He went inside, we had the heat on, he sat on the edge of the bed, and he said, 'I just died and went to heaven,'" Harmon said.
Harmon said it costs more than $10,000 to create a trailer from start to finish. He said they rely on donations from businesses and people within the community to keep them running. They also appreciate anyone willing to volunteer their time to help out at the facility at 752 Wiscasset Road in Boothbay, ME.
Anyone interested in donating to support Boothbay V.E.T.S., Inc., cash and checks can be sent to:
Boothbay V.E.T.S., Inc.
P.O. Box 402
East Boothbay, ME 04544
To donate directly to services that help veterans across Maine, click here.
The organizations planned three mobile Stand Down events. The first was on October 5 in Caribou. The third will be Tuesday, October 19 in at the Lewiston Community Based Outpatient Clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.