By Jake Lee Green
Kern Valley Sun
The 4th Annual Veterans Stand Down, sponsored by the Kern River Valley American Legion Auxiliary Unit # 711 and co-sponsored by the Kern River Valley Woman’s Club, at the Kern River Valley Senior Center was a festive and well attended get together of veteran members of our community, resource organizations, and the general public.
The event, hosted on January 12, kicked off with the crowd of approximately 68 veterans, six of which were homeless, uniting in prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem as sung by Kern River Valley American Legion Auxiliary Chaplain Patricia Chapdelaine.
Shortly thereafter, Native American veterans played several traditional songs in a drum circle that filled the room with harmony in recognition of the service that veterans provided for the community. The Kern River Valley Elks Lodge provided the lunch through a grant they had received for the Veterans Stand Down. In addition, the Daughters of the American Revolution provided the dessert and ten cases of 12 oz. variety sodas were donated for the program.
In attendance was 1st District Supervisor Mick Gleason and his KRV Representative Debbie Freeland who met with the veterans and their families.
Multiple agencies gathered as well providing resources to the attendees ranging from substance abuse prevention, mental health, therapy, housing, and jobs.
There was a station for veterans to receive free haircuts as well as several tables set up for folks to rummage for cheaply priced clothing including winter wear, socks, and shoes.