KILLEEN - Operation Stand Down Central Texas has been working to help homeless veterans for three years. When director Joann Courtland was invited to the Texas State Society Black Tie and Boots Ball to bring attention to the work the nonprofit does, she was hoping to make some friends and raise some funds. What she got, besides recognition in front of thousands of people, was a new 2017 Toyota Tundra.
"This is a game changer," Courtland said. "This is really going to help us move people around, move items around, it's really going to get the word out... I really think we can get more support, more donations, and take our organization to the next level."
The truck was provided by Gulf States Toyota in partnership with the office of U.S. Congressman Roger Williams. The chairman of the Texas State Society, congressman Williams put the ball together and wanted to find a nonprofit in central Texas to recognize for the event. The office considered nine nonprofits and Operation Stand Down Central Texas came out on top.
The office also contacted Gulf States Toyota to find out if they would be a sponsor for the event, and the company agreed. They also agreed to provide the $50,000 Toyota Tundra.
"The more we learned about it the more excited we got about the organization," Toyota Government Relations Director Laird Doran said. "To find an organization like Operation Stand Down that is really trying to improve the lives of veterans here in central Texas, it really hits the mark."
Operation Stand Down Central Texas is based in Copperas Cove and works every week to provide clothing, hygiene items, help with paperwork and even showers to veterans in Copperas Cove and in Killeen. The nonprofit also does two major Stand Down events a year, where veterans receive food, clothing, medical care, and services from a variety of organizations in the area.
The next major Stand Down event is April 22 at the National Guard Army in Killeen. They still need volunteer help making that happen and you can contact Operation Stand Down Central Texas on their website if you would like to volunteer.