SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An organization dedicated to helping people in need is saluting local veterans.
A cookout including hamburgers, brats, and a healthy number of veterans took center stage Wednesday at Veterans Services Center in Sioux Falls.
“What better way to kick off the Memorial weekend to do a grill out to honor those who served,” Pathway Vice President of Financial Intelligence Scott Elkins said.
“It’s a time for us and our partners at the VA and around the community to come together and remember those that served and didn’t come back,” VOA, Dakotas Director of Veterans Services Ben Klusmann said.
The event is also an opportunity for Volunteers of America, Dakotas to share how it helps serve Veterans.
“We have this amazing outreach center that provides food. We have laundry facilities, we have showers, we have hot meals twice a week starting this summer. We have career counseling, we have internet access,” Klusmann said.
“If it hadn’t been for this place, I wouldn’t be here today,” Army veteran Mark Eshelman said.
Eshelman served for more than 30 years.
“Housing was a big help. I was really on the down and out and they helped me get back up on my feet and they’ve just always been here for me,” Eshelman said.
As for today’s cookout, food and camaraderie were tops on Eshelman’s list.
“It’s a pretty significant thing signing that piece of paper and this kind of event helps show thanks,” Eshelman said.
And for veterans who are on the fence about seeking assistance, Klusmann says ‘come on down’.
“My biggest message would be it’s not a handout, it’s a hand up, we’re here to help, we’re here to facilitate you get back on your feet. We’re not here to keep you where you’re at, we want you to go to that next level and reaching for help is kind of the first step of that,” Klusmann said.
Volunteers of America, Dakotas was expecting about 100 Veterans at the cookout, which was paid for by Pathward of Sioux Falls.