Montezuma County Veteran Services and VFW Post 5231 will hold a Stand Down for Veterans on Sept. 20 to provide information about benefits and programs.
The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the county annex, 107 N. Chestnut St., in Cortez. Food will be served.
A “stand down” is a traditional military term for time off at the end of the month to take care of family and personal business, said Post Cmdr. Tom Endres. Having one in Cortez for the first time is meant to draw in veterans from all over the Four Corners.
“The intent is to give veterans access to information about all the benefits they earned by serving their country,” he said.
Booths will be set up with information about accessing benefits programs ranging from financial, medical, transportation and education to housing, mental health, employment and legal assistance.
Veteran Affairs officials will be on hand to evaluate a veteran’s individual benefits and guide them through the enrollment process. Veterans may access their military records and find out what they are eligible for.
Bring a military ID or a DD 214. If you do not have one, assistance will be available to obtain them.
There will be free haircuts, hygiene supplies and other items. Free food and beverages will be served as well.
Endres said organizers urge homeless veterans to stop by.
“There are so many programs out there to help get veterans into homes, and I’ve seen it happen in Cortez,” he said.
He added that some veterans can be stubborn about receiving their benefits and too often suffer needlessly.
“We want to change that. They have earned it, and it’s a part of their pay for serving. We are saying, ‘Don’t leave it on the table,’” Endres said.