For Immediate Release
Contact: Mike Charbonneau, 919-485-7413
Research Triangle Park, NC (Sept. 14, 2017) -- Military veterans in need of the free legal, medical and social services offered at the Bull City Stand Down at Durham’s National Guard Armory on Friday won’t have to worry about paying for transportation to the event, either. GoDurham is offering veterans free rides on its buses that day.
“GoDurham has been affiliated with Bull City Stand Down since 2013, and we have witnessed the event’s participation grow each year,” said Mike Brown, assistant general manager at GoDurham. “We are proud to be able to do our part in helping those who served, and as a member of the military for over 20 years, I am proud to be part of an organization that cares about our military veterans.”
More than 300 homeless or underserved veterans participated last year in the Bull City Stand Down, a one-day event dedicated to providing resources and services to U.S. military veterans. In addition to offering free rides on all GoDurham buses, this year GoDurham also is providing a shuttle from the Durham VA Medical Center to the event.
“GoDurham has been way supportive by providing free bus fare for our veterans for the past four years,” said Shawn Ross, chairwoman of the event and executive director of Indigo Consortium, a nonprofit dedicated to helping female veterans. “This year we were unable to get the kind of service we needed from the VA to the Bull City Stand Down, and GoDurham is providing us with a shuttle that holds 12 passengers and two wheelchairs, which is wonderful. We’ve always wanted a dedicated vehicle from the VA to the event, so we’re excited.”
From 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, law students from Duke University, North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be available to help veterans with expunging criminal records and acquiring DD-214 military forms. Nonprofit groups will offer housing and employment assistance, and medical volunteers will provide health care screenings that include vaccinations; HIV/AIDS, TB and hepatitis C testing; mammograms; and dental work. Substance-abuse and mental health counseling also will be available.
“For a lot of our homeless vets, transportation and getting to services is not easy,” Ross said. “We provide all of those services in one place throughout the whole day. Everything is free for that day. We have breakfast, and lunch is free for veterans. We know sometimes there may be services not as obvious to them they are qualified for, and we want to make sure they’re aware of everything.”
According to the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans, the number of homeless veterans in the state peaked at about 1,400 in 2012 and had fallen to fewer than 900 in 2016.
“I know we hear that we don’t have as much homelessness, but we know,” Ross said. “We work with a nonprofit, so we know there is homelessness out there, and as long as there is one homeless veteran, we will continue to do this work.”
Larry Dwight Hall, a longtime member of the North Carolina House of Representatives and now secretary of the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans, will speak at the event’s opening ceremony Friday.
“We need to really be more in touch with our veterans,” Ross said. “A lot of time they don’t self-identify, and they might be sitting in our pews, sitting in our churches, be in our grocery stores, and we need to be more sensitive to their needs and aware they’re out there and know that there are still a lot of services they need and a lot of support from us.”
Bull City Stand Down is one of approximately 200 Stand Down events held across the United States each year to assist underserved veterans. The first Stand Down occurred in San Diego in 1988 primarily to help veterans of the Vietnam War.
Bull City Stand Down
- What: Service event for homeless and underserved military veterans who need assistance with benefit claims, vaccinations, dental needs, haircuts, legal affairs, DMV IDs, among other things
- When: Friday, Sept. 15, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Where: National Guard Armory and Durham County Memorial Stadium, 750 Stadium Drive, Durham 27704
- Information: BCStandDown@gmail.com