Pay it forward: MWSS-373 supports Veterans Village of San Diego

By Lance Cpl. Jake McClung, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. -- Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 373 supported the Veterans Village of San Diego during their 30th Annual Homeless Veteran Stand Down July 21 to 23, at San Diego High School in San Diego.

The stand down offered homeless veterans shelter and provided services such as medical care, dental care, legal assistance, haircuts and food for three days.

“MWSS-373 has been providing support to make this event possible, ranging from building and maintaining tents to setting up cots for over 2,000 homeless participants this year,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Wallace, MWSS-373 site officer for the Veterans Village of San Diego.

Veterans Village of San Diego was established in 1981 with the goal of giving back to the community by assisting homeless veterans who face substance abuse or have mental health concerns. The organization is committed to its motto “leave no one behind” and provides services to more than 2,000 veterans each year.

“These are homeless veterans who have nowhere else to go so it is important for us to give them these services, whether it is putting food in their bellies or just providing them with a place to stay for a few days,” said Cpl. Eddie Salazar, a communications technician with MWSS-373 and volunteer.

Marines with MWSS-373 provided equipment such as cots, tents, chairs and fork lifts; many also volunteered their time by preparing work stations and sleeping quarters, distributing food and drinks as well as greeting veterans attending the stand down.

The purpose of the Veterans Village of San Diego and the reason Marines with MWSS-373 support this event is to help rehabilitate these veterans and get them off the streets, said Salazar.

“The entire reason we are here is service, whether that be on the battlefield or serving the community,” said Wallace.