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Veterans Stand Down makes a return to the Monterey County Fairgrounds

MONTEREY, Calif. (KION)- The Veterans Stand Down made its grand return this year to the Monterey
County Fairgrounds.

Jack Murphy, a Management Analysis at the Monterey County Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, is happy to be a part of the process for this year's stand down.

"They raised their right hand at one point as either volunteers or they made a choice to serve our nation and defend our freedoms and liberties, and no one was born a homeless veteran," said Murphy.

Many hands gave back at this year's Veterans Stand Sown in Monterey. Veterans from near and far came to benefit from a wide range of services. This year though, offers a new program for veterans. County officials from eight different counties came to assist vets with legal troubles.

"A judge will take a look at the nature of the case, whether it's a felony or a misdemeanor, how it relates to either homelessness or how it relates to being a barrier towards housing," said Murphy.

One veteran made his way back this year and is finally getting the answers he needs. This is Scott Greth's second time at the event.

"With this legal help, they can give me direction, and maybe I can get some case pro per, which means I can do it myself with some legal advice, and I think that's important."

Murphy says the process is quite simple for those looking to help brighten their futures from past incidents.

"Very often, for a few hours of community service, that charge will be vacated."

Volunteers could be spotted throughout the fairgrounds paying it forward. Retried veteran Tony Virrueta has attended the event four years in a row.

"One thing that we do in the military is serving in boots, and at some point, we get out of those boots, but it doesn't mean that we can't serve still," said Virrueta.

Aside from the programs offered year after year, some vets look forward to
seeing each other.

"Getting to see some of the old veterans that I had commodities with and just for some of the services. I like being involved with this kind of work."

Over a hundred veterans came out to benefit from a variety of services. All of which can be a step forward to a better life. Volunteer Darrell Smith is happy to see all the services offered.

"It provides so much for people in need. You have clothing, dental, medical, every resource you need," said Smith.

After a hiatus due to the pandemic, many were ready to get to work. But
volunteers want you to know the work never stops.

"It's a powerful way to have someone get a benefit that they otherwise would not either get or it would be very, very difficult."

"Seeing a veteran a year or two later and he recognizes you, he goes, hey, I remember you from the stand down, and I have a place now, and I got a job."

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Taryn Mitchell

Taryn Mitchell is a weekend anchor and multimedia journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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