Nine-hundred and sixty-seven homeless veterans attended the 23rd annual Stand Down event held adjacent to San Diego High School on July 16 ,17, and 18.
Carl Holbroke attended all three days. The first thing he did was to obtain a “much needed” California ID. Next, he got a haircut by City College students and instructors. “It was a great haircut,” he said. Holbroke then went for a massage.
“We had our choice of three different types: deep, holistic, and acupuncture. I chose the deep massage. I didn’t think the holistic was all that practical...no hands — don’t get that one. Just kidding. I have two torn rotator cuffs, and I have got a lot of pain.” He said he experienced “much relief.” The massages were provided by the Navy Wives Club. Afterward, Holbroke went off to the optical services station.
“I was fitted with a big, round, silver, thick pair of powerful glasses from the Lions Club on Market Street. Thanks, guys.” Holbroke was excited. “I even got shoes. I picked out five pair of pants and shirts; then, socks and the rest....
“They also provided housing assistance from the Veterans Village and Saint Vincent’s; 25 veterans signed up for the homeless shelter at Vinnie’s.”
Stand Down offered free medical attention, but no one imagined there would be a major medical emergency.
“About two hours into the first day,” said Holbroke, “a vet had a major heart attack. He was rescued by two Marines. Later, they received honors and medals from the commander of Camp Pendleton.”
All who attended said the food was awesome. More than one said, “Real eggs for breakfast was a real treat.” The attendance at this year’s Stand Down was up 6 percent from last year.