Pay it Forward

828Vets provides services, resources to area veterans

Avatar photo

Deena Bouknight

828Vets, an action-oriented organization assisting and supporting military veterans, has been busy. In the latter part of September, the group hosted the second annual Warrior’s Walk and participated in the Smoky Mountains Veteran Stand Down.

On Sept. 23, beginning at Franklin’s Little Tennessee Greenway Tassee Shelter, participants in the Warrior’s Walk made their way down the path for about 828 meters as a way to draw attention to and honor local veterans and all that 828Vets has accomplished in the community. Walkers returned to Tassee Shelter for food, fellowship, and fun.

Dozens of people walked 828 meters on the Little Tennessee River Greenway to honor Veterans during the Warrior’s Walk.

Then, on Sept. 28, 828Vets participated in the Veteran Stand Down, which has been held for nine years at the Carpenter Community Building and hosted by Macon County Veteran Services (MCVS). A variety of organizations provided items and services during the one-day, five-hour event. Services included veterans’ benefits information, haircuts, dental care, legal and education advice, mental health, family-related services, and ministry opportunities.

828Vets was just one organization out of around 50 that participated in the late September Veteran Stand Down held at the community building in Franklin.

About 50 vendors manned tables, including 828Vets, and about 175 people attended, according to MCVS Director Leigh Tabor, who oversaw the event with Assistant Service Officer Christie Black.

Christie Black and Leigh Tabor, with Macon County Veteran Services, organized the Smoky
Mountains Veteran Stand Down.

“The seven Western North Carolina counties participate in the event each year,” said Tabor, who shared an example of why Veteran Stand Down is so important to veterans. “We had an (approximately) 85-year-old veteran from another county with a wife who has Alzheimer’s and a disabled child. He’s concerned his wife will need medical care … so we were able to [connect] him with three individuals who may be able to help him.”

Doreen and Jack Castle, with their grandson, attend the 2nd annual Warrior’s Walk.

The Macon Baptist Association worked with Normandie Restaurant to cook all the food that was donated for breakfast and lunch at the Veteran Stand Down. Volunteers donated time, food and other items.