Sunday, June 16, 2024

North Idaho Veterans Stand Down all about 'getting the information out'

Staff Writer | May 19, 2024 1:07 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — A haircut was not in Greg Lindberg’s plan for the day as he headed to the North Idaho Veterans Stand Down on Saturday at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds, but he figured he was due for a trim.

“I’m not used to being the center of attention,” he said with a laugh as Amber Stewart of Hayden Sport Clips cut his hair.

The Jacklin Building buzzed with activity as just under 100 providers offered veterans and families everything from food boxes and dental checks to legal aid and hearing assistance. The impressive turnout kept organizers hopping — by 10:30 am, Panhandle Health had already rushed back for extra supplies.

“It’s getting the information out. A lot of people don’t know what is available to them. There’s so much going on but it’s all precise. Military people, we can handle organization,” Lindberg said.

Events like the Stand Down make it easy to access services that many veterans and their families are unaware they’re entitled to. 

Lindberg was grateful to people like Stewart for showing up for them.

“These guys are taking time out of their days, out of their schedules and they could be making money,” Lindberg said.

Completing his haircut, Lindberg stood back up to all of his 6-foot, 7-inch stature and said he had worked up an appetite for the lunch from Texas Roadhouse at the event.

“We look confident,” he said. 

John Merwald said the event has grown into more of a veterans service fair over time. Organizer Debbi Nadrchal was excited to see the group of veterans they serve grow as they approach three decades of serving veterans. 

About 350 people received assistance from North Idaho Veterans Stand Down throughout 2023 and she expects the group to help about 500-700 people this year. 

“There’s been more homeless vets this year,” she said, noting the changing needs of the veterans community. “This is a cause very close to my heart and I just want to help as many veterans as possible.” 

    Terri Gasper and Douglas Harsh were among two of hundreds in attendance during the Veterans Stand Down Saturday at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. Harsh shared information about church services and other resources available through Real Life Ministries.
    Greg Lindberg relaxes during a haircut by Amber Stewart during the Veterans Stand Down at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.