JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Hundreds of homeless veterans headed out to the American Legion Tuesday in Jacksonville for the 6th Annual Veteran Stand Down.
With an increase in homeless vets both across the state and in Onslow County, Tueday’s veteran stand down helps provide anyone who is homeless a one-stop shop for food, clothing and job opportunities.
Joseph Ramsey is one of those homeless veterans.
After serving as a satellite technician aboard Camp Lejeune, and being deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey, Ramsey found himself at the bottom of a hole struggling from PTSD and a recent divorce.
“I took it upon myself to use recreational drugs and by doing that it messed me up for the rest of my Marine Corps career,” said Ramsey.
Ramsey was discharged from the Marines and was one of many who attended the stand down.
He says trying to maintain a normal life for his family of seven while being homeless .is something he never imagined.
“Taking them from place to place to place is the hardest thing you can do.”
Organizers for the event say it has grown every year in both the numbers of homeless attending as well as the number of organizations providing resources.
“Anybody can come in and get a haircut, if they need to take a bath they can go next door and take a bath, we have shoes, we have hygiene goody bags if they’re homeless, actually sleeping outside we have tents, we have sleeping bags,” said Kelley Hamilton, a Disabled Veterans Outreach Specialist, about the services offered at Tuesday’s event.
Ramsey says his main goal Tuesday was to find resources to help home his family and find a job.
“That’s why we’re here, trying to get some help you know, and I know we’re going to get some good help here this year.”
And he says swallowing his pride by admitting he’s homeless and staying humble is key.
“Regardless of whatever you’ve done in life to get you to where you are right now, you can always be at this point here, you can, so even if you make all the right decisions one wrong decision can end you,” said Ramsey.
Those in charge of the veteran stand down also say there will be four career fairs opened to military this month throughout Onslow County.
A job fair will be held at the Marriott Courtyard in Jacksonville on February 10th.
On that same day, a job fair will be held aboard Camp Lejeune at the Paradise Point Officers’ Club from 10 am to 3 pm.
There will also be job fairs on February 17th from 9 am to 1 pm at the Jacksonville Conference Center and on February 24th and 25th at the USO of NC, Jacksonville Center.