Event reaches out to veterans

YOUNGSTOWN – Jo McKee got a free blood pressure check as she walked with her father Saturday outside United Methodist Community Center.

“This is awesome,” McKee said of the Mahoning and Trumbull County Regional Veteran Stand Down. “I’ve lived here all my life. It is great there are people that care came together to tell people in the ‘Yo’ what is available to them.”

The United Methodist Community Center in collaboration with local agencies hosted the stand down on Front Street. Services offered included eligibility screenings, medical exams, shelter and housing referrals, employment and job training assistance, legal services and counseling.

Tonya Patterson, a case manager at the community center, was on hand to provide information on the center’s Ready Workforce program, which helps veterans with computer training and finding employment and housing.

“Our goal is to get veterans on their feet and established,” she said.

Also at the event was Yvette Wade, a U.S. Army veteran.

Wade created Family and Friends Home Care to help eligible veterans and their families get home care services that range from light housekeeping and cooking to providing transportation through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The program was started in Trumbull County in 2012 and expanded into the Youngstown area earlier this year.

“I learned about these services because I was wounded by an RPG while I was in Iraq,” Wade said. “We help veterans through the process. We work hand in hand with the Veterans Affairs.”

The services are available through Aid and Attendance pension benefits for veterans and their surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing and other daily tasks.

“This is an excellent way to get information out to people who otherwise might not get together,” Keion Stella, a program coordinator of the Ready Workforce program, said of the event. “We are so pleased with the response this year, we will be looking to take this into Trumbull County next year.”

Veterans attending Saturday’s program also were able to obtain medical screenings, clothing and personal care kits, breakfast and lunch and free haircuts.