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Vets' Stand Down offers free rides Saturday

Sponsors of the Merced Stand Down 2009 said free transportation would be available to veterans for the Aug. 22 event at the National Guard Armory in Merced.

Merced County Transit will give anyone with a military ID, VA ID or Form DD214 a ride on Saturday so they can attend the stand down at 1240 W. 8th St. which begins at 9 a.m.

The Disabled Veterans Organization will also pick up vets throughout the county. Veterans can call Ed Mentz Sr. for times and locations of stops at (209) 356-1938.

Organizers said the intention is to travel to nearby towns once for pickup and once for drop-off.

"It is our hope to be able to answer question, make referrals and, more importantly make connections within the veterans community to support those returning and helping families make sense of the changes that often occur to military personnel who have served in conflict or have been assaulted," said Eli Painted Crow, one of the organizers.

There will be Spanish-language interpreters available to speak to family members.

The American Indian Veterans Association and the Service Women's Action Network expressed their appreciation to “participants, volunteers and the veterans organizations who are standing up to reach out to our military community.”

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