OSDRI to Host a Modified Version of Annual Stand Down Weekend Due to COVID-19
WHO: Operation Stand Down RI
WHEN: Sept. 18 – Sept. 19
WHERE: For participants in the event: Johnston Veterans War Memorial Park, 1583 Hartford Ave, Johnston, RI. For Media: OSDRI Veterans Service Center- 1010 Hartford Avenue, Johnston RI- In order to avoid people from showing up directly to the Veteran Service Center, we ask that the media does not report this address. Please use the address for the Memorial Park.
WHAT: Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) is set to kick off its 28th annual outreach weekend on September 18, at 8 a.m. The annual event has been relocated from its traditional location and the scope reduced in order to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
“We believe the event to be such a staple in the veteran community and far too important for our struggling veterans to cancel in light of the global pandemic so we have chosen to scale it back and modify the event to ensure veterans are still able to access the most essential services available,” said Erik Wallin, Esq. Executive Director of Operation Stand Down RI.
Since its inception in 1993, the annual event has provided thousands of veterans with access to important services including healthcare, dental care, employment services, legal services, social welfare benefits, housing assistance, and clothing.
This year the event will be scaled back and feature a modified version of services to include; VA Medical Health Screenings, Flu Shots, and Pneumonia Shots (follow on appointments for other services will be made on site); Legal consultations and services; Veteran Disability Claims, VA Enrollment, and Social Security Disability Claims; Housing Services; Employment Services and; Distribution of Food and Personal Hygiene Care Packages. Bagged lunches will be provided to event participants.
OSDRI partnered with RIPTA to provide transportation to the event. RIPTA Bus service will begin at 8:00 am on both Friday and Saturday from Kennedy Plaza to Johnston War Memorial Park with last returning RIPTA Bus departing at 4:00 pm. Shuttle service will be provided between Memorial Park and OSDRI Veteran Service Center.
Attendees to the event will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and veteran status verified at Johnston Veterans War Memorial Park 1583 Hartford Ave, Johnston, RI.. They will then be shuttled approximately one mile from the park to the Anthony DeQuattro Veteran Complex where all services will be provided.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions only VA eligible veterans (not their dependents) will be permitted to attend this year’s Stand Down Weekend. Additionally, OSDRI is unable to provide overnight accommodations, however, veterans experiencing immediate homelessness will be placed into emergency housing.
All Veterans, volunteers, and service providers attending the event are required to wear masks and practice social distancing.
The Horace Kimball Foundation and Bank RI provided financial support to make the event possible.
OSDRI was founded 28 years ago by three Vietnam era veterans in an effort to end homelessness in the veteran community. The first Stand Down weekend was held in 1992, in Exeter at the old Ladd School Property since then it is traditionally held at Diamond Hill State Park in Cumberland RI. The weekend has consistently been a staple in the veteran community and has assisted thousands of veterans over the past 28 years.