Veterans can connect with services at this year’s All Veterans Stand Down |

Veterans can connect with services at this year’s All Veterans Stand Down

What: All Veterans Stand Down

Where: Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday

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The All Veterans Stand Down, held this Friday and Saturday at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, had its beginnings in a rafting trip down the Colorado River.

Two Vietnam veterans saw homeless people, many in military clothing, as they drove to the river in the 1980s. The sight stuck with them, leading to an event that’s evolved into what one organizer called a “one-stop shop” for all veterans.

“It’s really important for us to have these events in our community,” said Oral Stallings, vice president of Nevada County’s All Veterans Stand Down. “Don’t forget what these men and women have done for our community.”

Several service providers will be at this year’s event. Veterans and their families can find medical assistance, help with the court system and even locate a veterinarian, said Dennis Fruzza, president of the Nevada County All Veterans Stand Down.

They also can learn about benefits they’ve earned from their service, and register for their VA benefits — an essential move for newly discharged veterans.

According to Stallings, the Department of Defense has instituted a five-year time limit from the date of discharge to register for the benefits.

“These are all earned benefits,” he added. “If you put on that uniform and raise your right hand, you’re a veteran.”

The Stand Down began in San Diego. Stallings, Victor Traverso and Nick DeZaparkanszky helped bring it to Nevada County.

The local event includes all veterans, homeless or otherwise. It’s scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

The event at the Sugar Pine Lodge on the Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Road, is open to only veterans and their families.

Registration isn’t required, though veterans are encouraged to register at

According to U.S. census records, there are over 10,000 veterans in Nevada County — about 10 percent of the county’s population.

A veteran himself, Fruzza remembers being unaware of services available to him. Someone directed him to the correct office, and now he wants to help others.

“My gears have changed,” Fruzza said. “I became a chaplain. It’s in my heart to help veterans.”

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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