NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Getting veterans the help they need is what members of several organizations are doing this weekend at Fort Negley.
On the hallowed grounds of the historic site, veterans across middle Tennessee are getting many things they may struggle to find to get back on their feet.
“Its for mindfulness thing where you go out and kayak and stuff like that where it helps keep you relaxed and stuff,” said Jim Thomas.
VetLinx and Operation Stand Down Tennessee are hosting the event to help connect veterans with useful resources.
“We have a new generation of veterans that are coming back from combat or coming back from service and trying to find their footing in society,” explained the CEO of Operation Stand Down Tennessee.
Retired Colonel John Krenson said the veterans coming home today are facing different challenges than those from previous wars.
“Veterans today that are homeless are not often the veterans that you expect to find under the bridge or in the back of a WalMart parking lot or at the room in the mission,” said Krenson.
He said organizations like his can learn from mistakes in the past so people do not end up homeless in the first place.
“Veterans today will blend in by living with a friend for a few months, then live with a family member for a few months and they won’t wind up on the streets,” said Krenson.
Vetlinx said events like this weekend’s can also provide resources to the families of veterans.
“The whole reason we wanted to start it was to get more families involved in a unique way,” said Laurel Bowman.
Many times, the battle veterans face transitioning back into their role at home can be overwhelming.
“The elusive veteran is the one that you may not know is homeless or may struggle with financial issues or finding housing,” said retired Sergeant E.J. Hirsch.
That is why events like this one can help post 9/11 veterans find the help they need.
“Its not like a chained, go to this service and then go to the next service and go to the next service. It is more of an event that they can engage in,” Hirsch said.
The event runs Sunday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and is free to anyone.