NEW ORLEANS, La. -
Sailors assigned to Pre-commissioning Unit Anchorage (LPD 23), distributed winter kits to more than 250 homeless veterans in the New Orleans area Oct. 22.
The annual distribution took place "boot camp style" in the Veterans Affairs building in New Orleans as part of the VA's Stand Down program aimed to provide care and services to homeless veterans.
Each recipient of the winter kit was given two bags and walked from station to station, filling each bag with cold weather essentials such as blankets, boots, gloves and jackets. The items provided for distribution were donated through various charity drives sponsored by the New Orleans area VA.
"Even though it can seem be overwhelming at time, just getting the chance to help soldier who fought and gave so much for our freedom is privilege and memory I will never forget," said Yeoman Seaman Kevin Thrower, who hails from Shreveport, La. "Participating in this event showed that there are some people appreciative for our service and makes me want to keep that appreciation by doing the best I can serving in the Navy."
The Stand Down program is coordinated in more than 100 cities across the country at different times of the year. According to the VA's Web site, more than 200,000 homeless veterans have been assisted using this program, which aids in its ultimate goal of eradicating homelessness amongst the nation's veterans. Other services include housing aid, employment training and medical treatment all of which is financed through taxpayer dollars as well as volunteer programs.
"It is always a great feeling when you are able to make an impact in someone else life," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Bryant Williams, from Detroit, Mich. "It means a lot especially when it's for veterans that served and fought the good fight before we did. Everyone thinks the military is all about defending our country; it's much more than that. We are compassionate human beings that are always looking to help each other out as well as others."
Anchorage is the Navy's seventh San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship and is under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipbuilding site in Avondale, near New Orleans, La. The ship is scheduled to be delivered in the spring of 2012, commissioned in the fall of 2012 and homeported in San Diego.