Dorn VA offers help for veterans in need ahead of winter frost

Dorn VA Medical Center
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA)– The Dorn VA Medical Center is continuing to increase its outreach to our veterans. The center held an event to help veterans prepare for the approaching winter and get assistance with available benefits.
Voluntary Service was in charge of the “Needs Stand Down.” One of the specialist with the agency explained the need for events like this. Brian Austin said, “Everybody thinks that these veterans get all these benefits and they don’t. they don’t all get 100% qualifications to get these high dollar checks every month. and some of our veterans get very little to live on.”
More than 300 veterans came to the Voluntary Service’s Stand Down. By 1 p.m. the tables filled with clothing, winter gear and toiletries were almost empty.
One veteran, Vincent Brown, took advantage of the services. And even though the event helped put some much needed items in his hands, he’s concerned it doesn’t help solve the problem many veterans like him are facing. Brown says he’s been waiting since the late 80’s for his disability. “They’re telling me they’re going to keep denying me until I can find my records saying I was injured in the service,” said Brown.
The road from combat to civilian isn’t always easy, which is where Voluntary Service comes in. “Sometimes it may take a little bit a month or two before they start getting their check. so in that month or two we can give them a little bit of stuff to keep them going to keep them surviving until they start getting their check to go out and get those items that they need,” said Austin.
But even veterans who are facing challenges when it comes to being compensated for their services, say joining the service is a choice they’d make again.

“I went it to serve this country and protect my family from the things that are going on right now over seas. I would never change that. If I was able and fit, I’d go back right now,” said Brown.

Voluntary Service works directly with the donations given to the VA. In December, the agency is holding one of their biggest fundraisers, the 17th Annual Charity Ride. The director says the donations they receive during that event will help carry them through the year.