PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Displaced veterans were invited to Gulf Coast State College Friday for the 16th annual ‘Homeless Veterans Stand Down’ event.
“We’re able to successfully bring everybody together at least one day a year and provide a one-stop shop for everything a veteran needs,” Career Source Communications Manager Becky Samarripa said.
Over 40 local organizations that serve veterans were in attendance.
“Veterans can come today and they can receive health care, mental care treatment, dental care, vision care, and they can get a haircut, they can have a meal, they can receive all kinds of resources.”
Navy veteran Lynn Smith said each organization had something different to offer.
“It’s wonderful to get all the cards,” Smith said. “I run into people all the time that need help, and then I’ll say, ‘Hey, call these guys guys,” Smith said.
Some veterans also took advantage of the free haircuts.
“They brought me straight into here just at the behest of my wife, because I definitely needed this,” veteran Robert Rivera said.
Rivera said it’s been over two years since he’s had a haircut.
“Since my disability, I’m just always afraid to go out of the house.”
Military personnel from both Tyndall and the Naval Support Activity Panama City Navy Base were also in attendance.
Naval Support Activity Panama City Commanding Officer Michael Mosi said they enjoyed being part of the event.
“Importantly for me as a commanding officer, is the opportunity for my sailors to interact with those that have seen and paved the way for us,” Mosi said.