Sooner Stand Down Helping Homeless Veterans In The Metro

Friday, October 17th 2014, 6:57 pm
By: News 9

By Jessica Holley

It's an annual event to help those who fought for our country get the help they now need. Sooner Stand Down helped homeless veterans all day providing hot meals, new clothes and free services. Before doors opened at 7 a.m., a line of more than 100 veterans waited outside.

It's estimated Oklahoma City is home to more than 400 homeless veterans.

For Joseph Williams, a retired Navy veteran, it was a crippling car crash that left him unable to work for two years. Despite being homeless, he considers himself to be lucky, having friends to help him during this time.

“I was sleeping on people's couches, extra beds from house to house, and not having any place that I can call home is real stressful,” Williams said.

Williams, along with hundreds of other vets, found relief in the dozens of free services provided Friday at the annual Sooner Stand Down event.

Most importantly for Williams, free dental work to fix his cracked tooth.

Veteran Marine Donnie Loneman gave up everything to care for his dying mother. He too calls overpasses and spots beneath trees home.

“I can endure whatever is out there, if it's real cold or real bad,” he said.

Loneman left Friday's event able to endure life on the streets a little easier, taking away a new sleeping mat, clothes, shoes and pack.

“I relish the day when we don't have to do this anymore, because there aren't any more homeless or at risk vets,” Dan Straughan, executive director of Homeless Alliance, said.