Text and photos by Ron O’Clair, former Staff Sergeant E/5 United States Air Force Reserve, August 1979 – June 1987
I attended the annual Veteran’s Inc. Stand Down because I am eligible for one thing, and for the main reason that my driver’s license recently expired and I have been having some difficulty with the renewal process … . Plus, I figured it was about time I had my Veteran Status annotated on my license along with my “Organ Donor” designation. Now with the new laws, I hope to have the “Real ID” on there as well.
The RMV booth was very helpful, even beyond my expectations, as I got a voucher that is good for the next 30 days to help me pay for the renewal fee. I am not sure how much discount, but on my limited income any savings is greatly appreciated.
I also took advantage of the hair cutting services being offered and was given a cut and trim by an employee of D’Orrio’s Salon on Plantation Street who volunteers her time to help veterans. She did a tremendous job trimming my beard, moustache and what remains of my hair on the back and sides of my bald head! It is people like the hair stylist who make these events so fun and worthwhile!
I had wanted to get to the event early, but I was taking along another vet who was making me late because he was not ready to go when I wanted to leave. So by the time we got in line to get our numbers, we got #319 & #320. Which meant that we had to wait until those before us got to go through the clothing line, which in my case means I never can find anything that will fit as all the larger sizes are already taken.
It is the same every year. You get the ones that go through and grab up extras of everything, coming out hours ahead of everyone else with tons of stuff. Those with high numbers end up with very little to choose from or, as in my case, nothing at all. I guess it is human nature for some to have no consideration of people down the line.
The event speakers assemble for the opening ceremony with Vet Shelter Vice President Dennis Leary speaking first, followed by President & CEO Lt. Col. Vincent Perrone, then came Jason from the shelter staff, followed by local elected officials.
I also had some treats: tortellini, a sausage on a bun and a couple of slices of brick oven pizza cooked right there on the street. These food items were generously donated by various local vendors. Just after getting my meal it started raining, so Bruce and I headed to my car parked up the road to eat out of the rain.
The vet I had driven to the event was able to get himself half a duffle bag of clothing because he is not so large as I am. Many things available can fit him. After we ate, he wanted to leave, so I brought him back home and returned because I still had not secured my copy of the D.D. 214 I needed to annotate my Veteran Status on my license. He didn’t want to stay for the 1 p.m. opening of the “BX” where they had all kinds of brand new items like socks and T-shirts.