Saint Leo was recently taking donations to go towards aiding military veterans and their families. Instead of accepting monetary offerings, the campus was taking in something a bit more unusual: socks. The office of military affairs and services held a sock drive on campus from Aug. 25 to Oct. 1 to help homeless veterans or those in transition during this year’s Operation Stand Down.
Operation Stand Down is a yearly event that helps many veterans who may be homeless, battling substance abuse, or struggling with their mental health. The surrounding community and several organizations came together to provide various services (medical, dental, barber shops, spiritual) that veterans may not have had access to. Colonel Pamela Martis, head of the office of military services, lead the sock drive which started on the very day that the military Services building was opened on campus.
Several donation boxes were set up at several locations on campus, including Military Resource Centre, Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library, and the Learning Resource Center to name a few. The boxes were collected from the Sept 29 -30 and it was a huge success at the event, several boxes of brand new socks were donated by several students and faculty members.
Saint Leo has been a major sponsor of Operation Stand Down for several years, however this is the first time that Saint Leo hand a table at the event. Student and faculty volunteers distributed various items to attending veterans which they could be used in their everyday lives. These included a mesh kit (a small receptacle containing a spoon, a knife, and a fork), a lanyard where they could put their cards and identification information, pens, books, and, of course, plenty of socks.
Members of the office of military services were not the only persons who went out to support the veterans. University Communications, the department of education, ROTC, and even Dr. Lennox, the university’s president, as well as his wife came out to lend a helping hand. Lennox, who himself is a veteran, gave a speech thanking all of his fellow troops for all that they have done for this country.
Saint Leo is not the only university that contributed, several other schools and centers across the country also participated in aiding veterans. Even members from neighboring counties came out to support the main Operation Stand Down event. The state of Florida especially wanted its former troops to know just how much their bravery and sacrifice have been truly appreciated.