David Camp spent 16 years in the Army. He served in Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Operation Enduring Freedom. On Saturday, he was doing double duty, volunteering and receiving help at the annual event at the Boise Vet Center.
About 160 veterans attended Saturdays Stand Down, said organizer Terry Tippery.
We fed them. We handed out about 80 sleeping bags, Tippery said. There was even a portable shower set up in the parking lot.
Vans drove to shelters to pick up veterans and bring them in for everything from a haircut to benefits counseling.
Camp took warm clothes, a sleeping bag and a pair of long johns home with him to South Boise. Since leaving the Army, he survived a suicide attempt, got help through the VA Medical Center and now lives with nine other veterans transitioning out of homelessness. He cooks dinner three nights a week for residents at the River of Life Mission.
He feels a kinship with others who have served, regardless of the military branch. Everything hooks together, he said.
Camp knows hes luckier than some vets. When he arrived at the center on Saturday, he saw three men sleeping on the ground on pieces of cardboard.
Over the past 10 years, around 25 percent of those seeking shelter at the Boise Rescue Mission have been veterans from many conflicts, said its director, the Rev. Bill Rosco.
Vietnam is now our gray-haired generation, he said.
Stand Down is a Vietnam-era term, Tippery said, a time when soldiers could leave the bush and come into camp to regroup, get a change of clothes and breathe for a little bit.
Anna Webb: 377-6431