Duluth's Veterans StandDown Helping Troops

By KBJR News 1

August 24, 2011 Updated Aug 24, 2011 at 9:25 PM CDT

Duluth, MN - (The Northland's News Center) - Northland veterans received special treatment today during the 17Th annual Duluth Veterans' StandDown.

The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans headed up the event giving onsite assistance for Veterans in need.

A multitude of information and medical care was available for those who proudly served their country today.

More then 270–of the Northland's finest walked through the doors of the Depot Wednesday for the annual Duluth veterans' Stand Down...a shopping center just for veterans.

"We've got everything from clothes to housing to veterans claims, the big VA is here, Silver Bay, we've got of course the legal clinic that's going on. It's really significant in helping a lot of veterans," says MACV's Regional Director, Durbin Keeney.

The Stand Down's concept was used during the Vietnam War in order to provide a safe haven for troops returning from combat operations.

It was a secure base area where soldiers were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warms meals...as well get medical and dental care.

"It's giving back to the men and women who've given so much to us. It's a way of saying thank you," Keeney says.

Veterans who attended say they are grateful for events like this.

"It's nice that the community knows what's going down, ya know. It's finally, it's time. That what you give up for your country, it's nice that it's being recognized by the community," says Army Vietnam Veteran, Gary Parker.

"There's vets that, especially Vietnam vets that don't know the benefits that are here and they can find out here that there is a lot of help available for them," Air Force Vietnam Veteran, Larry Sell said.

A standing ovation and hardy hand salute was given as the only living Minnesota recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Mike Colalillo, joined the event.

Durbin Keeney says the ability to gather information and receive assistance from multiple agencies at one time is what makes each MACV StandDown such a huge success.

Durbin Keeney announced that as of September 12Th he would be stepping down as they Regional Director of MACV.

Keeney says it was s difficult decision for him to make, but due to his health reasons, he said it is the right decision.

Written For The Web By Danyel Piecek.