Operation Stand Down holds resource fair for veterans in need

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Operation Stand Down RI held an event Friday to provide resources from job training to counseling services to veterans in need.

“Outreach is so important with the veteran community. There are so many benefits that veterans are not aware of,” the Vet Center’s Paul Santilli said.

For 25 years, Operation Stand Down has been helping veterans in need.

“For us at Operation Stand Down, every day is Veterans Day,” Executive Director Eric Wallin said. “But this weekend obviously draws attention to veterans and for us the plight of veterans.”

The organization is appreciated by the many who utilize it, including Air Force veteran Vance Huling, who said Operation Stand Down helped him through the toughest times of his life.

“My wife and I almost loss of a home that we’ve been in for 21 years,” he said. “It was a lifesaver. I’m getting emotional.”

The program stepped in while the Warwick resident was out of work for six months. They provided classes for Huling and helped him find employment.

“They helped me with some of my bills and my rent, food, clothing,” he said. “They did a lot for me.”