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Brian Becker of the Missoula Vet Center unloads boxes

Brian Becker of the Missoula Vet Center unloads boxes full of surplus military gear for a veteran stand down in Missoula in this file photo at the Missoula Armed Forces Reserve Center at the Wye. 

Community resources for veterans will all be gathered in Helena’s Gateway Center on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Helena Military Community Resource Fair and Veteran Stand Down occurs annually and is a free event.

“What it is is to gather together community resources to put them in one place that the veterans can come in -- kind of a one stop shop -- and get them the assistance they need,” said Steve Garrison of Montana Joining Community Forces.

He said there will be organizations to help get veterans housing, jobs, health care, financial assistance, legal advice and more. Capital Hill Barber Shop will also be providing free haircuts and a free lunch will be provided by the Elks Lodge.

Garrison hopes to see about 150 veterans and their families cycle through.

At the last Helena stand down, Garrison said over 100 veterans came through and established connections with agencies or housing organizations.

As a veteran, Garrison said he’s seen some of the issues that veterans face.

“As a frequent rule veterans don’t complain much. I mean they figure the system of life in general will take care of them, and as we’ve often discovered that’s not the case,” he said. “So what we try to do is bring the system and life to them to try and to help them out.”

If a veteran can’t make the stand down or finds out about it after the event, Garrison said they should contact the VA to get connected with an organization that can help.

Stand downs are organized regularly in communities around the state.

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Alexander Deedy can be reached at 447-4081 or alexander.deedy@helenair.com

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