READING, Pa. - The 326th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD) kicked off its Military Veterans Stand Down at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, Pa. March 6. This is the first ever in Berks County to be led by an Army Reserve unit. The primary purpose of the three-day event is to provide essential services to veterans, many of whom are homeless. Such services include providing food and clothing, career resources and medical services.
The event began with an opening ceremony led by Maj. Mary L. Olodun, 326th MPAD commander, and was attended by military and community leaders including State Senator Judy Schwank, Army Reserve Ambassador George H. Duell, Jr. and Andrew Colket, district representative for U.S. Congressman Patrick Meehan. Congressman Meehan oversees the 7th District of Pennsylvania, which represents parts of Philadelphia, Berks, Lancaster and Montgomery counties.
Colket makes various appearances on behalf of Congressman Meehan and said he was pleased to make an appearance at the stand down event. Colket said he takes the struggles of veterans personally, as he is a veteran himself. Colket served in the Pennsylvania National Guard for nine years and was deployed to Afghanistan.
“We like to get out to as many of these events as possible,” said Colket. “We want to make sure they know we are here for them [veterans].”
While Colket is legally prohibited from promoting individual services through their office, he said they are always willing and able to direct veterans to services in their area.
“I remember working with a veteran who was about to lose everything,” said Colket. “We were able to direct him to services that helped him recuperate back-pay from the military. It saved his house from foreclosure and allowed him to receive medical treatment he wasn’t able to afford.”
Colket also said helping veterans continues to keep things in perspective. “It may seem like a small task for us but it is big help to them.”