California Forward has named Jon Nachison a Forward Thinker for his work to support and better the lives of U.S. veterans who have trouble finding stable footing when they return from the war zone.
Nachison proudly served our country in the Vietnam War and saw firsthand how difficult it was for many returning soldiers to reconnect with society. This led him to become a psychologist, and for 30 years, he has focused on working with veterans like himself.
Unemployment among vets coming back from the current wars is 20% – double the national average – and many vets find themselves trying to survive on the streets.
To help address this problem and give veterans a much needed support and transition system, 24 years ago, Nachison and a friend started Stand Down in San Diego.
Stand Down is a three-day event held in San Diego every year – a safe haven for folks to rest, get medical, dental and vision care, eat, shower and get some clean clothes. The event also provides job and home assistance.
“We wanted to send a message to the community that this is a problem, that there are vets living on the streets, and it’s not a few; it’s a lot,” Nachison says.
There are now more than 200 Stand Down’s across the nation – supported by the Veterans Administration, local military bases, and the community – serving vets who served our country.