St. Cloud Stand Down focuses on serving female vets with new boutique

By | November 11, 2020

Kerri Schwegel, chair of the Lady Veterans Boutique, sorts through clothes Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, in St. Cloud.

ST. CLOUD — An area veterans organization is using its new home to cater more specifically to female veterans with the addition of the Lady Veterans Boutique.

St. Cloud Stand Down was formed in 1998 by four Vietnam veterans, St. Cloud Stand Down President Bob Behrens said. The organization went from warehouse to warehouse, but a gift from the Clifford Beck family estate made it possible for the organization to buy the campus it occupies on 33rd Avenue North, just across from the former Electrolux site, and open the St. Cloud Stand Down Clifford Beck Veterans Resource Center in fall 2019.

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Stand Downs are typically events aimed at providing resources to veterans, and St. Cloud Stand Down has spent years hosting an annual expo. But moving into the building has allowed the organization to expand its offerings to veterans, especially those at risk, experiencing homelessness or simply in need. They provide clothes and necessities, a free haircut the first Thursday of the month, a meeting place for various veteran organizations, and a connection between veterans with other organizations and state programs.

In 2019, St. Cloud Stand Down served 935 veterans.

“Whatever a veteran needs, man or woman, this is the resource center for them,” Behrens said.

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