Stand down gives back to women vets

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - They are the people who serve and protect, but after their service is over some of our nations female veterans are finding themselves homeless.

It’s a problem that the American Legion Auxiliary in Eau Claire is tackling head on, providing essential needs for women and their families during the holiday season.

“When my son was killed in Iraq I had some problems with his death as far as finance and things that needed to be answered for him,” American Legion member Kaye Olson said.

It was eight years ago Sunday that Kaye Olson lost her son U.S. Marine Sergeant Andy Stevens.

“There were 10 marines killed and 11 injured the day he was,” Olson said.

In her time of loss Kaye turned to the people she knew could help, her friends at the American Legion.

“We think we can take care of ourselves well sometimes it's a little hard to do,” Olson said.

That’s why the American Legion Auxiliary in Eau Claire started the Holiday Stand Down. To give basic support to our warriors on the home front.

“I think as powerful and wonderful as the United States is it's a shame that the veterans would ever have to go without but they do,” American Legion volunteer Jane Dale said.

From blankets, to pillows, to scarves the Holiday Stand Down gives back to women veterans who gave so much fighting for our country.

“Especially around the Christmas time if you don't have it they have it here for you,” Veteran Wendy Zabst said.

“We have to assure them that they are still a good citizen they served their country for a good cause and they are still a good person,” American Legion State President Joyce Endres said.

Endres says the Auxiliary in Eau Claire has really focused in on giving back women veterans in need, and its especially important around the holidays.

“When it comes to the holiday time even though they are homeless the kids don't understand that Santa doesn't come to everybody. So if we can give them a small bit of joy that will add some excitement and joy in their life that's what it’s all about,” Endres added.

The American Legion Auxilary 53 will be holding its stand down for women veterans again Monday at the Post on water street from 11 AM to 3 PM.

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