PRESTONSBURG – Veterans from around the region gathered at the Prestonsburg National Guard Armory for a special event on Wednesday. The Veterans Stand Down and Job Fair was held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The program started with an opening prayer from Neal Kitchen. Following the opening prayer, the Allen Central High School R.O.T.C. did a presentation of Colors. The purpose of the program was to provide veterans with contacts for any and all services that may be available to them as well as meet with employers that were hiring. Tables were set up around the gym with vendors available to assist veterans on the spot.
“I am with the Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition,” said Brittany Martin. “It has really been an honor today to be a part of this event and meet the men and women who have dedicated their service to our country. I talked to 30 veterans today about the many health centers we have available. I also was able to discuss the various services we have available such as: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Behavioral Health Services, Diagnostic X- Ray, On-Site Lab Testing, Pharmacy Services, and Dental Services. I actually screened 19 veterans with two having testing results suggesting they were diabetic.”
As veterans talked to various vendors, entertainment was provided by Jason Goble, Nick Jamerson, of Sundy Best, and Kitchen, who performed with his band from Tennessee. Lunch was served and veterans were able to obtain information and sign up for services they needed.
The following individuals and businesses provided services for the Veterans Stand Down: Jenny Wiley, Mt. Arts Center, Food City of Pikeville, Pig n’ a Poke, Coke, Pepsi, Texas Road House, National Guard Armory, Archer Park ( Richie Schoolcraft), Ronnie Rice, Isbell Scott, Edna Blackburn, Ann Spears, Roy and Sabrina Hackworth, Sherry, Reno’s Big Lots, Free haircuts from Wright’s Barber Shop, Paul Daniels, Sherry’s Styling Station, Lake Barber Shop, Certificate for one will by McGuire Law Office, Highland Regional Medical Center, Hope Well Ministry from Tennessee, El Azul, Prestonsburg Rotary Club, Town Branch Church, Tom and Earlene Nelson, Wal-Mart of Pikeville, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Jimmy Slone, Job Corps, Jessica Goble, Grace Nelson, and Stacy Crum.
“They came and got me out of the halfway house in Ashland,” said Army National Guard veteran Randy McDowell. “I live in the Mountain Comprehensive Care VA Transition Center in Pikeville. I am getting on my feet and they are helping me each step.”
Scottie “J.R.” Morton is the Outreach and Veteran Peer Support at MCCC Veterans Transition Center in Pikeville. The facility currently houses 17 veterans and can hold a capacity of 25. Morton plans outings for the center’s residents such as fishing, camping and this weekend going to Hillbilly Days. He understands the challenges some of his clients face because he is an 18 year veteran of the Army National Guard.
Gerald Tackett a veteran living at MCCC Veterans Transition Center, is a four-year Navy veteran and was living at Pathways before coming to Pikeville.
“This center really lifts my spirits,” Tackett said. “We really work together and in the service you form a brotherhood with your fellow soldiers and we have that same feeling here.”
The Veteran Stand Down was a huge success thanks to the many organizations, businesses and volunteers that came together to do something good for the community. The MCCC Veteran Transition Center is currently recruiting homeless veterans that could benefit from the services they offer. For more information, contact J.R. at (606) 639-3178.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.