Rotary helps keep homeless vets cool

COAST CITIES — Thirty-seven members, spouses, and friends of the Del Mar–Solana Beach Rotary Club (DMSB) handed out more than 6,500 bottles of chilled water to thirsty veterans and volunteers at “Stand Down San Diego 2012” July 13 through July 15. These volunteers stood multiple three-hour shifts over the three day event to organize the “Rotary Water Tent,” icing down 270 cases of water, and handing the bottles out with a smile and a good word to the men and women who had helped protect our country.Many homeless veterans, as well as the volunteers assisting them at Stand Down, said that the chilled water was necessary to keep them going throughout the three long, warm, and muggy days. Because there is no piped water available at Stand Down, the bottled water was greatly needed also for patients going through procedures in the dental and medical clinics. The water was donated by Harrah’s Rincon Casino and NIKA Water, with transportation to Stand Down provided by NIKA Water, Eckert’s Moving & Storage, and Rotary Club members.

In addition to handing out chilled water, individual DMSB Rotary members chipped in $500 to pay for the white hats worn by defense attorneys at Stand Down’s Homeless Court. These hats identify the attorneys as the “good guys” who counsel and represent the homeless vets at the Court. The Homeless Court program at Stand Down helps prosecutors and judges transform fines and jail time for misdemeanors into feasible sentences that contribute to the vets’ rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Stand Down, now in its 25th year, is an annual support and intervention event specifically for homeless veterans. The three-day event provides meals and coffee throughout the day, picture IDs and sleeping tents, a clothing tent, showers, barber shop, and stations for medical, dental, and vision assistance and for acupuncture and massage therapy. They provide help through the homeless court, counseling, chaplain services, 12-step meetings and information about Veterans benefits, employment and job counseling services, recovery providers, and shelters.

DMSB Rotary meets at the Doubletree Hotel in Carmel Valley Friday mornings from 7:15 to 8:30 a.m. For more information about the Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary Club, contact Steve Weitzen at or (619) 338-0055, or visit