RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The annual Veteran Stand down resource fair at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center helps prepare homeless veterans for the winter season. But for one veteran, the timing of this event could not be better.
"It's different, it's different because I can relate to veterans here," Patrick Yellow Thunder, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, said.
Just three days ago, Patrick Yellow Thunder and his wife were kicked out of their home in Custer leaving them homeless.
So, to come to an event that's all about helping veterans who are struggling means the world to Yellow Thunder right now.
"You can come here breathe a sigh of relief, eat and just sit here. For me that let's me know I'm human," Yellow Thunder said.
More than 50 organizations passed out boxes of food, toiletries and even hair cuts.
While some veterans took a break to eat a hot meal, others walked to service tables to ask about jobs, health services and legal questions.
"Another big benefit is for them to come and meet with our benefits officers and to talk about all the benefits they may receive as veteran as well. It's typically those booths that see a lot of traffic," VA Black Hills Homeless Program Manager Jamison Hild said.
Plenty of booths offered warm winter wear like shoes, hats and jackets for more than two hundred veterans who walked around looking for assistance.
Yellow Thunder said to see so many people willing to extend a hand and a sincere smile makes him feel like he matters.
"It's a sincere smile. It's a sincere laugh. They're here. It's a good thing. It's a dang good thing," he said.