By: Wesley Martin
We see them often on the side of the road. And sometimes, we even donate our spare change to them – forgetting what they have already done for us.
Last Thursday, June 28th, the Gulf Coast Veterans Advocacy Council, Inc., honored Susan B. Nelms, Executive Director of Workforce Escarosa, Inc., for her support of the organization’s Stand Down Program.
GCVAC’s Annual Stand Down Program, which provides many services to homeless veterans in the Pensacola and Gulf Coast communities, is scheduled for October of this year. The program not only takes months to plan, but a lot of financial donations as well.
“Workforce Escarosa is one of the partners that makes this event happen,” said Joseph L. Herring, program manager for GCVAC.
Herring said Nelms in particular has always helped to find money to support the program and that’s why they honored her at Thurday’s event.
“We wanted to make sure that we presented her and her staff with a token of appreciation,” Herring said. “Without funding we can’t do anything.”
Nelms, who was also honored with a proclomation by Escambia County Commissioners on behalf of GCVAC, said support for veterans comes natually to her.
“We have so many veterans who come back to this area after they’ve been in the military,” Nelms said. And she would know – her father is a World War II veteran; her husband is a retired Navy officer; her son was a Marine.
“Veteran services is very near and dear to my heart,” she continued. Nelms also said that citizens have a civic duty to help those who served this country.
“We have an obligation to help them with employment, or if they need to go to school to become more acclimated with private sector jobs that are available,” she said. “It’s one of our missions to help veterans to make sure they have the opputunity to do something.”
Though the Stand Down is a one-day event, Joseph Herring, a Vietnam War veteran, says it is used primarily to identify veterans in the area who are in need of assistance.
“We try to make sure we get the services out to all the different types of veterans to make sure that they are provided with the services that they need,” he said. “We help them to get housing and we help them get medical assitance.”
For more information on the Gulf Coast Veterans Advocacy Council, please visit: gcvacflalms.org