Dr. Lance Armstrong, ’86 | Chiropractic Coordinator, Stand Down
By Angie Lewis, ’03
There are an estimated 200,000 homeless veterans living in the United States, and the population continues to grow every day. Many have made Florida’s forests and parks their “homes,” thanks to the warm weather.
Community-based intervention program Stand Down was formed to help these heroes “combat” life on the streets. In fact, the term “stand down” originated during the Vietnam War, when officers recognized overworked units and would pull them back for rest, supply them with needed services and new equipment, and get them ready for their return to battle.
Stand Down gives Florida’s homeless veterans a chance to come in from their camps in the trees to receive new clothing (everything from undergarments to boots), camping supplies, food, showers and general hygiene, dental care (when available) and chiropractic care.
You read that correctly — chiropractic care. After all, these veterans are literally sleeping on the ground. Imagine the effect that has on their bodies.
The program’s chiropractic coordinator is Dr. Lance Armstrong, ’86 (far right in photo above), who earned his UCF degree in physics. He also was the U.S. Air Force cadet commander at UCF, and flew B-52s until Congressional budget cuts in 1992.
“The cuts required I find a new career, so I came home as a chiropractic physician wanting to put the two careers together,” he explains.
In that effort, Armstrong was instrumental in creating a partnership between Stand Down and Palmer College’s Florida campus, allowing interns to adjust the veterans.
Thanks to his effort, Julie Clover, the director of membership and business development with Community Credit Union in Rockledge, FL, wanted to award the chiropractor the CCU Hometown Hero Award, which comes with a $200 gift. However, Armstrong insisted she give the money to the chiropractic student volunteers at Palmer College.
Instead of giving them the $200, the CCU Board of Trustees decided to donate $1,500. “I was in shock,” Armstrong says. “My appreciation was beyond belief.”
The donation is being used to purchase two portable adjusting tables and gas station gift cards to help with the cost of driving an hour away from campus to the site and back.
“I am proud to see the college taking the torch,” he says. “My dream is to see chiropractors volunteer at Stand Down in their states and nationwide. My dream is also to see chiropractic physicians work with Veterans Affairs.”
Armstrong has also assisted in the effort to provide chiropractic care to U.S. service men and women. Now, he says there are chiropractors on 50 military bases.