AMES, Iowa – Ames said, “Thank You,” to its veterans Wednesday.
The Ames Veterans Appreciation Day, hosted at the Bandshell Park, was a “rain or shine” event seeking to connect local veterans with services they need.
The event included free lunch, supplies, haircuts, music, and the opportunity to connect with representatives for veterans services at the county, state, and federal level.
Organizers say this event was called a “Homeless Stand-Down” for its first two years, but participation was minimal; after broadening the appeal and marketing to veterans of all backgrounds by changing the name to “Veterans Appreciation Day,” they saw a boost.
“So when we did the homeless stand-down, I think the first year we just had seven show up,” said Brett McLain, the Story County Director of Veterans Affairs. “And the next year we had 12, and we went out and found some of those folks, under the bridge and here in Ames. And now – last year, we had 90.”