A free haircut, dental exam, massage, and piping hot lunch were music to the ears of 85 homeless veterans, Saturday.
“I think it’s a very good thing that the veterans get the opportunity to get some help,” said veteran Jon Parker.
Homeless veterans were bussed in from around the state to the 16th annual Maine Veterans Stand Down in Augusta. The event is entirely volunteer-staffed, including the doctors, cooks, and nurses.
Screenings for mouth cancer were available, and military-grade clothes, sleeping mats, and boots, to prepare the vets for the cold winter ahead.
“I think it’s great it’s a nice service that they gives for the vets,” said veteran, Joseph Lavoie.
Ida Wilson is a licensed massage therapists and volunteers here every year. She’s been popular with the vets.
“Oh wonderful id with she’d come home with me but she says she’s already taken,” said Lavoie.
“I volunteer here several years because this is my way of serving those who served us,” said Wilson.
She says a massage is more than just relaxing for the vets— it can help them emotionally.
“This is one of the ways to get that trauma out of the nervous system out of muscle tissue and to begin a very deep level of healing,” Wilson explained.
Veterans got eye check-ups and could schedule a full exam for later on. They also got set up with reading glasses if they needed. The vets said the day made them feel appreciated.
“That it wasn’t in vain that I signed my name to serve my country for people I didn’t know and for them to give back like that it shows it wasn’t in vain,” said veteran Norman Warren.