DIXON — A helping hand from Travis Credit Union will smooth a rougher-than-expected road organizers had to travel to finance next week’s three-day encampment at the Dixon May Fair fairgrounds to give needy veterans the access they need to essential services – from clothing to legal assistance.
Organizers put out a call early last week for help from the community after they were informed that a $10,000 Department of Labor grant aimed at funding s0me of the costs of putting on this year’s stand down was trapped in Washington, D.C., due to the partial government shutdown.
The money was supposed to pay for items such as food, clothing and other items such as the portable toilets and wash stations for the encampment that starts Tuesday.
Travis Credit Union came forward, with the help of Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, to offer the stand down organizers a zero-interest loan to tide the group over until the shutdown ends and they get the grant money, according to stand down spokesman Pat Sheehan.
These are not the only rough waters the group had to sail through.
Early this week, they were told Travis Air Force Base would not be able to supply the large tents the stand down uses to house the veterans on the fairgrounds and that an organized volunteer effort from the base was not forthcoming.
Individual airmen assured the group that every airman who could make it to the stand down to volunteer on their own time would be there to pitch in.
Sheehan said stand down organizers are seeking other sources for tents.
Organizers vowed that the stand down will definitely take place. They did so to counter rumors that it was being canceled.
One aspect that has not diminished is the number of veterans who need the stand down’s services. This year, more veterans have registered online to show up than showed up in total at last year’s gathering.
Organizers are still asking for donations and especially for volunteers.
“People can still make contributions through the website and we need volunteers from Monday through Friday, from when we set up the encampment to when we tear it down,” Sheehan said.
Anyone interested in helping out can go to the group’s website at www.nbstanddown.org or call Pat Stasio at 344-3743 or stand down secretary/treasurer Lynn Jewell at 365-5073.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.