Stand down lifts up homeless veterans

The Colorado Springs Gazette – October 14, 2010

Dave Zickler’s heavy-duty high-top boots had definitely seen better days.
“These ones are getting funky,” he said, pointing to a split in the leather of one of his 2-year-old buff-colored boots.
Thanks to Thursday’s 12th annual Stand Down for Homeless Veterans at the City Auditorium, the 56-year-old Army vet will be stepping out in a new pair of boots — not to mention a new heavy coat — just in time for the arrival of wintery weather.
“This is good. This is real good,” he said.
Loading homeless veterans up with coats, boots, jeans, toiletries, flu shots and connections to essential services is what the Stand Down is all about, and organizers anticipated a record turnout as the economic downturn continues to take its toll on employment.
“The economy put me here,” said Mike “Jethro” Snyder, a former Marine who has made his living working on ranches. “I’ve been a cowboy all my life, but I’ve just run out of work.”
Snyder, 55, was taking advantage of the one Stand Down station that provides the most immediate change for the vets: a haircut. About 10 volunteer stylists from Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy clipped, buzzed and shaved a steady stream of veterans, taking them from scruffy to slick in a matter of minutes.
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