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Veterans event fundraiser is Saturday

by: SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Attendees at a Veteran's Day memorial at McCormick Park in St. Helens last year.The Columbia County Community Action Team is asking local veterans to stand down.

“In times of war, exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover were removed from the battlefields to a place of relative security and safety,” reads a statement at the website the team has developed to spread information about a Feb. 23 Stand Down event that will provide local veterans access to a variety of services — from necessities such as food and clothing to medical, legal, mental health assistance and job counseling.

To fundraise for the event, the team is holding an auction Feb. 9 at the St. Helens Elks Lodge, 350 Belton Road, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. All proceeds from the auction will go to the Stand Down event.

“The biggest challenge in Columbia County is being able to reach these veterans,” said CAT Veterans Case Manager Pam Daniel.

Of the estimated 6,000 veterans in the county, 1,994 live at the poverty level and a conservative estimate puts the veteran homeless population at 26 individuals, she said.

But with the lack of shelters and resources in the county, it is hard for her to get accurate counts or even tell them about new services they might be able to access.

“They’re up in the hills, they’re down by the river,” she said.

During the winter, many homeless veterans migrate to Portland where they can more easily find meals and a place to sleep, Daniel said.

She sees the Stand Down as a way to bring them all together and link them to much-needed services and resources available locally.

All Columbia County veterans, active military and members of the National Guard are invited to attend the Feb. 23 event.

“Many veterans have suffered years of chronic or recurring readjustment issues since ending their military service, issues often inadequately addressed by traditional services to assist veterans,” the website’s statement continues.

For more information, contact veterans case manager Pam Daniel, at 503-366-6591 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..