This weekend, hundreds of local homeless veterans will make their way to San Diego High School for a three-day intervention program that connects attendees to services and the community.
Known as Stand Down, a military term that refers to relaxing after a state of readiness, the annual event provides homeless veterans with an opportunity to take a break from life on the streets.
Organized by Veterans Village of San Diego, Stand Down brings in more than 150 service providers and 3,000 volunteers.
One County department plays an essential role in the event. The Department of General Services (DGS) provides temporary electrical power setup and removal services to the event site.
Senior Electrician Mike Brass is assisting with the event setup for the 20th time this year. Brass and his team of five DGS electricians coordinate with County inspection authorities and San Diego Gas & Electric to power up the event.
“When we get there on Monday morning, it’s an empty field,” said Brass. “Our team is basically in charge of wiring up the area so that the service providers can do their job once the event starts on Friday.”
Brass and his team kick off the setup efforts by laying out temporary service cables to wire a temporary kitchen, hair salon, as well as a health clinic and courtroom.
Around mid-morning on Monday, the Marine Corps starts setting up tents that are used as sleeping quarters for the veterans during the event. Once the tent city is established, Brass and his team wire up the event’s command center and set up the temporary lighting and electricity for the sleeping tents.
The DGS electricians are available throughout the week to finalize the setup and assist service providers with troubleshooting any potential issues. After the event concludes on Sunday, the team returns the next day to disassemble the electric setup.
It’s a job Brass really enjoys because it gets him away from his routine tasks at the workshop, but more importantly because he knows he is making a difference in people’s lives.
“Stand Down brings homeless veterans into a safe place, where they’re taken care of and I feel honored to participate in this event,” said Brass. “They watched over us and now it’s our time to look after them.”
While DGS helps with the set-up, several County departments provide services at Stand Down, including HHSA’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs, Child Support Services, the Public Defender’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office.
For more information about Stand Down, visit http://www.vvsd.net/standdown.
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