top of page

North County Veterans Stand Down is a Life-Changing Event

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Our client Victoria, Matt Foster, Cesar Peraza, and Carrie Foster
Our client Victoria, Matt Foster, Cesar Peraza, and Carrie Foster

Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) Veteran Employment Manager Cesar Peraza was honored to attend North County Veterans Stand Down (NCVSD) which assists with enabling all veterans and their families to receive much-needed services in a safe, friendly, and secure environment. At the event held in October, Cesar shared information regarding our innovative employment program for veterans with disabilities, as well as met some outstanding individuals.

Cesar had the honor of meeting Joe Heard, one of two sanctioned combat photographers during the Vietnam War; a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from November 1, 1955 until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. Joe shared his first-hand experiences while in battle where he disregarded his own safety to capture the heroic acts of our fighting military forces. Joe’s photos are a painful reminder of the heroic acts by our military men and women. He shares them with those who will listen.

“Meeting Joe was something I will never forget,” said Cesar. “He is a remarkable person who survived a devastating war. I am grateful for his service to our country and the heroic stories he continues to share to educate the younger generations.”

Cesar and Victoria
Cesar and Victoria

Cesar was joined at the event by our client and fellow veteran Victoria. Victoria received assistance with her veteran benefits, as well as medical and dental needs, and was also able to obtain critical information and legal support for her mother who is ill.

“Stand Down was a life-changing experience times three!" said Victoria.

The Stand Down coordinators, Matt and Carrie Foster, are a married couple. Matt served 24 years in the Marine Corps and is responsible for organizing and coordinating this amazing annual event.

Victoria, who is currently working at the Camp Pendleton Commissary as a Custodian, was thrilled to have the privilege to meet Matt and Carrie who she credits with being responsible for her life-changing experiences.

“Being at this event with Victoria and seeing the impact it has had on her life, along with many other veterans, has truly affected me,” added Cesar. “As a veteran myself, I am grateful that this event is available for veterans who are in need of assistance.”

Sandra Durbin with Cesar at the event
Sandra Durbin with Cesar at the event

Cesar also had the opportunity to meet Sandra Durbin, the first female African American US Navy Air Traffic Controller. Sandra is currently the California State Commander for AMVETS, a veteran service and support organization.

“Sandra is a living legend among those who helped to carve out diversity in our US military,” said Cesar.

Please visit North County Veterans Stand Down to learn more about their annual four-day event and all that they are doing for veterans.

Thank you to all our veterans for your invaluable service!

The TMI Veteran Employment Services program is designed to assist veterans with disabilities to choose, obtain, and maintain employment commensurate with their career choice and vocational interests within San Diego County. Individual strengths and abilities, prior work experience, and career preference will be integral factors in determining placement. Vocational assessment, as well as social, psychological, communication, environmental, and medical needs will also be considered. The goal is to pre-screen and match qualified individuals with employers. TMI is confident that veterans with disabilities can achieve their employment aspirations with our assistance.

Should you or someone you know need additional veteran resources, please contact North County Veterans Stand Down at or for employment services for veterans with disabilities contact us at

Cesar with Andrew Blume who is an advocate for homeless veterans
Cesar with Andrew Blume who is a veteran and advocate for homeless veterans

(Thank you to Cesar for contributing to this story and for being an amazing TMI Manager!)


Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


bottom of page