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In the early 1990s, Wayne D. Horner, a Vietnam War Veteran, and Veteran Service Officer wanted to do something to positively affect local veterans experiencing homelessness. Wayne felt as if so many of these veterans could use the type of break offered to troops in combat needing rest and relaxation to continue their mission. Unfortunately, Wayne was not able to see his dream come to fruition due to complications from Agent Orange exposure related to his service. In 1993, several of Wayne’s fellow combat veterans teamed together to make this vision a reality by hosting the first annual Wayne D. Horner Memorial Stand Down in Madison, WI. Today, this tradition continues as veterans and community members of south-central Wisconsin organize to provide a day of relief to those struggling to exit homelessness in our area.



Today, there are over 50,000 veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States. In the city of Madison, there are almost 150 veterans without permanent-supportive housing that are struggling on a daily basis to meet their most basic needs while working to improve their situation. We are fortunate to live in a community that cares deeply about our population and has a variety of organizations working to end homeless, however that is not enough.

Our community lacks available housing options for these individuals as only 2% of the multifamily rental units in the area are unoccupied at any given time. This means that we have to work incredibly hard to form relationships with landlords and property managers to look beyond some of the barriers our veterans face while considering them for tenancy. Due to this, we cannot immediately get a veteran into a permanent-supportive housing placement and are challenged with supporting the veteran while they are using emergency shelters, sleeping outdoors, or even utilizing local transitional housing options.

The Wayne D. Horner Memorial Veterans Stand Down will invite our veterans experiencing homelessness to a daylong event in the fall. Veterans will be welcome from Dane, Columbia, Dodge, Jefferson, Rock, Green, Iowa, and Sauk Counties. Stand Down seeks to reach all veterans experiencing homelessness in the Madison community, no matter the duration served or circumstances of discharge.


The mission of the Wayne D. Horner Memorial Stand Down is to link community partners offering a wide variety of essential services by providing ‘a hand-up not a hand-out’ to veterans experiencing, or at risk of homelessness. 



We imagine our communities where no veteran, and their family, caregivers, and survivors experience homelessness.



  • Provide safe, accessible, and comfortable services and supports for Veterans and families who are experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness

  • Build and enhance trust among veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and their families towards housing security, improve health, social, and community inclusion

  • Develop effective partnerships across all service sectors (public, private) assisting with housing, healthcare, mental health counseling and whole-health recovery, and employment.

  • Leverage available social, financial, and human capitol towards improved quality of life for veterans, families, caregivers, and/or survivors, including underserved populations.

  • Develop additional resources through grant funding opportunities, to serve veterans through identified gaps in service delivery.

  • Identify gaps in services for veterans experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness, in concert with community partners.

  • Engage all of our community partners for planning, development, and implementation for an annual Stand Down (day of respite) event, and, when feasible other events, activities, and public engagement which furthers our mission and vision. 



Our team consists of Veterans, community members, and organizations with the common goal of reducing the strain of Veteran homelessness and working to bring about positive change in the greater Madison area.

President Angie Nickles
Treasurer Rocky Manning
Community Partner Committee Chair Lorrie Hylkema
Vice President Ted Bendler
Secretary Brandon Trefrey
Volunteer Committee Co-Chair
Shelia Frey
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Food Services Coordinator 
James Blankenheim
Volunteer Committee Co-Chair
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