VietNow Soldiers on the Front Lines of
by Jim Proffitt
When Chicago held its Stand
Down for Homeless Veterans, VietNow was
there. This was a unique stand down. Not
only does the stand down provide needed
services for the veterans, but it gives
them the camaraderie they once knew. And
the participating veterans groups enjoy
The VFW, American Legion, VietNow, VVA,
VVNW, Italian War Veterans, and the Marine
Corps League were all there working together
for the betterment of veterans. It was
something to see as all the veterans organizations
seemed to bond together for their fellow
VietNow outdid itself.
Wherever there was a need for help, VietNow
was there. If it was hooking up generators,
moving chairs, tables, loading or unloading
truck, providing security, or working on
meals, VietNow was there.
We had 772 veterans who utilized
the Stand Down, plus approximately 250
volunteers and staff. And VietNow was there
from start to finish.
After helping with
Friday dinner, we had a chance to talk
with the people who were spending the
night. As we were helping out late Friday
night, it was heartwarming to see Jeannie
Douglas and Phil Meyer walking around the
Armory making sure everyone had enough
blankets, sheets, pillows, or whatever
they needed to spend the night. After all
the work these two do to put on this Stand
Down, they make sure the veterans are “tucked
the night before they rest.
out with breakfast hosted by VVA, and
VietNow was there to help. Once we got
through breakfast, it was time to set up
for the VietNow lunch. We served sloppy
joes, buns, salads, beans, fruit, desserts,
and juice with plans to help making sandwiches
later in the day for the sack lunches to
go once the Stand Down winds down and closes
around 5 PM.
Answering the call.
VietNow had a great turnout of volunteers
from various chapters: Berwyn/Cicero, DuPage,
Central Illinois, McHenry, Rock River Valley,
Tri-County, and National Board members.
We had lots of volunteers, and it’s
a good thing we did, because just about
11:30 AM (lunch was to be served at noon)
we were asked to make 600 sack lunches
to go and have them ready by 2 PM, while
we were at the same time serving lunch.
We took a deep breath and split our volunteers…half
to serve lunch and the other half to make
sandwiches around the corner. I don’t
know of any other organization that could
have pulled this off, but VietNow feeding
772 veterans, plus approximately 250 volunteers,
and at the same time making 600 sack lunches…it
was a monumental task.
A job extremely well
VietNow not only once again lived up to
their motto of “Veterans Helping
Veterans” but to paraphrase the chapter
that hosted the hospitality room – proved
to be a “kick-ass organization.”
The end of the stand down on Saturday
consisted of passing out ditty bags of
socks, clothes, blankets, and of course
sack lunches, and wishing everyone well.
A big thanks goes out to everyone who
helped, and to the Villa Park VFW Post
2801, who let us pre-cook a lot of our
food. Without you, the ones who helped
wherever we needed help, this Stand Down
could not have gone on and been such a
You should have been
I wish everyone could be on the food run
the Sunday after Stand Down and get the
feedback from a lot of these men and women.
They would know that all their hard work
had been well worth it.
Jim Proffitt is the VietNow National Homeless
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1835 Broadway – Rockford, Illinois
800.837.VNOW – 815.227.5100
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