ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Veterans Outreach Center will host its annual Stand Down on Friday, August 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Rochester Public Market and its popular fundraiser Pound the Ground on Wednesday, August 18 at 6:00 p.m. at Mendon Ponds Park and virtually.
VOC Executive Director Laura Stradley discussed both events Tuesday during News 8 at Noon.
“We’re really excited about this,” Stradley said of Stand Down. “It’s such a great opportunity for all veterans to come – homeless veterans, any veteran – who may want to learn more about the community resources that are available to them. We’ll have vendors there from all over the region and we are partnering in this event with the VA Finger Lakes Health Care System as well as the Monroe County Veterans Service Agency to deliver these services on Friday.”
Veterans can learn more about an array of services available to them – from health, housing, and educational opportunities to prospective jobs. “We will typically have a couple of hundred, or more even, veterans who attend this event, and they’re always surprised,” said Stradley. “I think that they don’t realize how many agencies and service providers in our community have programs and services available to serve vets, but also just really care so much. We’re probably going to have somewhere between 30 to 40 vendors there on Friday. In addition to that the VA will be providing COVID vaccines on Friday – not only to veterans but also to their spouses and caregivers for anybody who hasn’t a had chance to get one yet.”
The virtual aspect of Pound the Ground was so well-received Stradley said VOC made the decision to keep it even as the in-person aspect of the event returns. “We changed that up a little bit last year and kept it virtual or in-person this year because the virtual component seemed to be exciting for a lot of people. We had folks participating on Navy ships out to sea, we had people in the Adirondacks, so it was pretty cool to have that opportunity last year and we decided to keep that and then also do in-person this year.”
Anyone can take part in the 5K by running, jogging, or even walking. “This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year,” noted Stradley. “If you want to compete with your branch of service – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps – you can do that and whichever branch of service has the best time wins what we call the Golden Boot. It’s a pretty cool award.”
The Navy has won the Golden Boot every year. Stradley, an Army veteran, said with a smile that she hopes the Army can claim the award this year!
To register and learn more about both events visit vocroc.org.