LAWTON, OK (KSWO)-Outreach was the goal Friday at the 5th annual Southwest Oklahoma Homeless Veteran Stand Down.
The event was held at Centenary United Methodist Church in Lawton.
Veterans from across Southwest Oklahoma were given housing vouchers, medical exams, employment opportunities and more.
In the past five years the stand down has helped more than 200 veterans from 17 counties in southwest Oklahoma.
Stephen Loveless discharged from the military in 1975 and has been homeless on and off for 3 years.
"From the beginning, I just wanted a blanket and a new pair of boots and some clean socks then I was just going to back on my way and be able to camp out until I find something else,” said Loveless.
He said the event was the light in a dark place he needed.
"My shoes were all worn out, so I got myself a new pair of boots and that was very good. But, then it just got better,” said Loveless.
Loveless is an electrician with a master in electrical design engineering and said he's eager to get back to work because living on the streets has been hard.
However, he believes his time in the service has saved him.
“That helped me establish the skill set that which I can survive out there in the cold rain, misery where other people may be uncomfortable I at least exist,” said Loveless.
Chairman of the Stand Down, Jervis Jackson, said that was their goal---to provide veterans the tools to help get them off the streets.
"Veterans served our country and they deserve to have the best and they certainly don't deserve to be homeless,” said Jackson.
Loveless said he's very appreciative of events like this but wants people to know there are homeless veterans needing helping every day of the year.
"It's been three years now,” said Loveless. “Living out of a duffel bag, it's just difficult."
Homeless veterans were also able to pick out clothes to take with them.
Centenary United Methodist church plans to hold the stand down at the church next year.
Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.
The 21-year-old was discovered in his apartment after he didn't show up for practice Tuesday. He died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Republican leaders are racing against a Friday deadline for pushing a short-term spending bill through Congress.
The new state would largely split the current state of California along urban and coastal vs. rural and noncoastal lines.
The Lawton Fire Department feels a little bit safer now that they have a new ambulance that goes with them to assist fires.