Sonora, CA — The Vietnam Veterans Post 391 of Sonora, the largest in the state and the eleventh largest in the entire country, hosted the first Mother Lode Stand Down this weekend for homeless honorably discharged veterans.
The Mother Lode Fairgrounds Camp Commander was former homeless Vietnam veteran Michael Evans from Sacramento. Evans stated that once a veteran registered he/she had to remain within the compound for the full two-and-a-half days so they could received all the benefits due them. If they left prematurely they could not return.
Each veteran received a sleeping bag to keep, a new pair of boots, military surplus clothing, a haircut, a shower and hot meals. In addition the veterans received medical aid and learned of benefits that may be due them through Beth Barnes, the Senior Veterans Services Representative for Tuolumne County.
Event Coordinator Frank Smart, the founder of Post #391 20 years ago, commented that the Stand Down will definitely be held again next year. Evans added that even though he is moving to Arkansas at the end of the month, he´ll return to the Mother Lode next year for the second annual Stand Down.
Written by Bill Johnson