Message from the President and Chairman
The year was 1970, I was eighteen years old and had just finished boot camp on Paris Island. I was a Marine and dam proud of it. Despite that pride, I was well aware that Vietnam had torn apart our nation. I watched the men, who were lucky enough to return home, arrive not to heroes welcomes but instead to be treated as outcasts and criminals.
From then to now I have held close the Marine motto “Semper Fi”. It is an expression of commitment to fellow Marine comrades-in-arms and for me an inspiration to serve all of our veterans. In the years that followed I watched many veterans of my era sleeping on the streets. It was an abomination and a tragic failure of our government’s responsibility as articulated by Abraham Lincoln to “care for he who shall have born the battle.” I and a group of Vietnam Era veterans, in 1993, formed Operation Stand Down Rhode Island. The purpose was to host the first Stand Down Weekend. The outreach event, both then and now, brings together state, federal and community resources to a single location to provide assistance to homeless and at-risk veterans.
Over 20 years later, Operation Stand Down Rhode Island has evolved into Rhode Island’s primary non-profit organization focused on providing housing and supportive services to homeless and at-risk veterans. From building the first supportive permanent housing for disabled homeless veterans to the first home for female homeless veterans, Operation Stand Down Rhode Island continues to the lead the way in giving veterans “A Hand Up…Not a Hand Out”.
Homeless and Veteran are two words that should never be in the same sentence. On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. At Operation Stand Down Rhode Island our commitment is when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.
President and Chairman of the Board
Operation Stand Down Rhode Island
President & Chairman
Treasurer & Vice President
Frederick T. Corry
Michael G. Boutiette
Richard A. Levesque, MSgt. U.S. Army (Retired)
Lt. General Reginald A. Centracchio (Retired)
State Representative Doreen M. Costa
Lynn St. Germain-Lundh
Ernest Almonte, CPA