The annual Macon Stand Down for Veterans is in its third location in three years, but organizers believe it has a permanent home now.
At least 300 veterans were expected at the event Friday at the Macon Coliseum. The stand down started four years ago in a small Veterans of Foreign Wars post, but grew so much that last year it moved to the Georgia National Guard Armory on Shurling Drive. That proved too small as well, said state Rep. James Beverly, who founded the event.
As he welcomed veterans into the event Friday morning, Beverly said he expects the Coliseum will be a permanent home.
New services added this year included flu shots and a job fair. Beverly said there are more than 50 volunteer organizations involved, and the wide range of services offered helps draw a crowd.
“It’s a pretty big tent,” Beverly said.
The event is organized by the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin and Volunteer Macon.
Central Georgia Technical College played a key role, including providing students to cut hair and give medical screenings. Other organizations helped provide clothing, food and various other forms of assistance.
Tommy Patterson, an Army infantry veteran of Vietnam, said it was his first time at the event. He said it shows him that things have changed from the rejected he experienced after returning home.
“I’m thankful for where we came from to where we are today,” he said.
Among the volunteers was Teresa Knight, who was handing out donated clothing. She has volunteered each year of the event.
“I love it,” she said. “I love helping others, especially our veterans. This is the least we can for them.”
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.