Hundreds of veterans were lined up waiting for a turn to go inside the National Guard Armory on Babylon Turnpike in Freeport to participate in the winter Veterans Stand Down event on Nov. 20.
Hosted by the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency, the event provided senior with a number of resources that included VA Benefits Counseling, support services, health screenings, legal assistance, clothing, non-perishable foods and haircuts. The event also provided the veterans with turkeys to take home, just in time for Thanksgiving.
A volunteer escorted each veteran through the Armory to visit each of the booths set up inside. With a shopping bag in tow, veterans were able to collect dozens of items and food. Volunteers of all ages were eager to help, including Elmont father and daughter, Isabella, 11 and Michael Marsh, 43. A Girl Scout from Troop 1335, Isabella shared she was thrilled to be at the event to personally get a chance to thank the veterans for their service.
“I’ve always had a place in my heart for veterans,” Isabella said with a smile. “It’s such a nice feeling to come here and help all the veterans in need.”
While some received food or clothing, other veterans waited for haircuts. While sitting in the barber chair the veterans and barbers joked around and shared stories of their time in the service. Freeporter and Army veteran Larry Klass shared he was so thankful for the support, especially during the incoming holidays.
“We need this,” Klass said. “Today I came specifically to talk to law services about my SSI check and got the information I needed.”
Though presently unemployed, Floral Park resident Alicia Figueras-Lambert attended the event to find resources she could benefit while she found work. The former Army and CIA agent raved on the community efforts to support veterans and said she was very grateful for the services.
“I think that the camaraderie is great,” said. “You never know who you’re going to meet and I love to meet with my fellow soldiers.”