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Pamlico Rose Institute offers day of services for veterans

The offer is for the veterans of eastern North Carolina: Stand Down on Feb. 15.

On that day at First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, in Washington, veterans are invited to a day of services, from a haircut and a catered lunch to job counseling and information about access to mental health care.

Led by Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities, along with East Carolina Veterans Coalition, Beaufort County Disabled American Veterans Chapter 48 and NC Works, the Stand Down aims to bring together veterans and the services they may desperately need.

“Stand Down is a term used to describe the practice of removing combat troops from the field and taking care of their basic needs in a safe area. The Stand Down was ‘a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations’ where troops had access to clean uniforms, warm meals, medical and dental care, mail and camaraderie, all in a safe environment,” reads a Stand Down flyer.

“When you have a Stand Down, it’s for those who are homeless or at risk or in need, and you bring them together for a day, and give them access to counseling, job counseling, haircuts,” said Rob Greene Sands, CEO of PRISC. “So you’re bringing them in and you’re providing them all these services they don’t have for the rest of the year.”

Among those participating in Beaufort County’s first Stand Down are: representatives from North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Veterans Administration’s Greenville office, East Carolina University military outreach, NCServes, Vet Center Mobile, Military Mission in Action and more organizations providing services for veterans.

Sands said Stand Downs are held nationwide, but it’s a first for Beaufort County and all the counties east of this one. For his group, it will be a start for getting a handle on the area’s homeless and at-risk veteran population, and be launching point to get people talking about who could benefit from the information and services the event can provide.

“If (someone) knows people that are in the homeless or at risk situation — people that might be at risk in this population — give them the information,” Sands said.

The Beaufort County Veterans Stand Down takes place on Feb. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon, but residents will be able to help fund the Stand Down through On Common Grounds on Sunday from 7 a.m. to noon. at Contemporary Art Exchange in downtown Washington. The pop-up coffee shop “sells” coffee, teas and pastries for a donation to a designated nonprofit. This week — the last On Common Grounds on the calendar — will benefit the Beaufort County Veterans Stand Down.