Homeless veterans to receive help via Cove-based nonprofit
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Operation Stand Down Central Texas is prepared to reach out during its 4th annual fall Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, set for Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the National Guard Armory on South W.S. Young Drive in Killeen.
In a little more than four years, OSDCT has grown from being headquartered in Covite Joann Courtland’s garage to its current headquarters in Cove Terrace Shopping Center, where Courtland and a lineup of volunteers work to help the homeless.
“Right now we have 53 volunteers from nine different organizations, and for stations we have 13 stations with different services and a meal,” said Courtland about the upcoming event on Saturday.
All systems are go, with Courtland and the volunteers prepared to serve those who come to the armory. One item they have specifically collected since the spring stand down are sleeping bags, which will come in handy with cooler temperatures.
“We had our mandatory volunteer meeting this past Saturday and did our goody bag stuffing (planning number is 100 for this one) and we are really doing well,” Courtland said. “We have gotten the rest of our sleeping bags and we are ready to go.”
Courtland and her team at OSDCT have been collecting donations of clothing, shoes, socks, personal hygiene items and more that will be distributed on Saturday.
Homeless veterans will visit stations where they can speak to representatives with area agencies to get them connected to state and local veterans’ services.
This year, Courtland says the group has added a second dental chair with a second dentist to perform dental screenings, and also new for this year is Lone Star Legal Aid for non-criminal legal assistance.
Homeless veterans will receive medical and dental screenings, and eye exams.
They will receive clothing, backpacks, sleeping bags, and shoes, and have the chance to take a shower and get a haircut.
“We have also added some more tables to the eating area to ensure we have enough room for everyone,” Courtland said.
This year, to help homeless veterans needing a ride to the armory, Courtland said the First Baptist Church of Gatesville is providing two vans and drivers, with one other church providing one van and a driver.
OSDCT’s headquarters is located at Cove Terrace Shopping Center, and is open from 9-11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Courtland, a Copperas Cove and a former 58-Delta pilot, first participated in a Stand Down for homeless veterans while she and her family were stationed in Huntsville, Ala., in 2009. With the help of her mother, Trudy Bolton, she launched the nonprofit after moving back to Copperas Cove and held the first Stand Down for Homeless Vets in the area in 2014.