ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Hundreds of veterans came to the Harro East Ballroom in Rochester on Wednesday to connect with a variety of service providers around the area who aim to help those who have served.
In conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Stand Down is an annual one-day event hosted by Monroe County and the Veterans Outreach Center. It's goal is to help connect at-risk and homeless veterans with essential services, like housing, health care, legal assistance, food and clothing.
"I'm a veteran myself and I know how difficult it can be to transition from the military into civilian life,” said Sean Smith, an Army Veteran and co-founder of Rocovery Fitness. "I think its awesome that all these service providers have come out here today, to just showcase what they have to offer for veterans, because when I got off active duty, I didn't really know what was out there."
The event featured roughly 40 local service providers, including Monroe County’s Veterans Service Agency, the Department of Human Services, Legal Assistance of Western New York and Warrior Salute/CDS March. The Salvation Army offered clothing to those in need.
"They’ve got clothing out here and everything. There are different opportunities and tables that they can go to and obtain services that they're not aware of,” said Lorenzo Disalvo, an Army veteran. “This is a great thing that they are doing for all of us. I mean because a lot of these guys laid their life on the line. Freedom isn’t free. There's blood behind that freedom."
The annual event was open to all veterans with their military discharge papers.
If you're a veteran and need help, you can still call the Monroe County Veterans Service Agency for assistance at (585) 753-6040.