This Memorial Day I was in Las Vegas. As I was wrapping up my weekend honoring those that have gone before us and relaxing, I noticed yet another reality….Homeless Veterans. He was standing on a street corner, holding a sign that read, “Homeless Veteran. Please help”.
As I reflect on that moment, I am overwhelmed with emotions. My first reaction was that he looked awfully clean to be homeless. Why does he have keys hanging on his belt loop if he is homeless? Then I saw him walk towards a nearby car as those inside handed him something, cash I am guessing. He tried not to look at it, but I can tell he is peaking at it from the corner of his eye as he slides it into his pocket. It must not have been much as he did not depart the area.
I then began to analyze, is he REALLY a Veteran? Does he “look’ like a Veteran? I think a lot of Veterans do wear key rings on their belt loops, so maybe… I then began getting angry, that really makes Veterans look bad, like we are charity cases. If you are really a Veteran, get to VA. There are tons of services to assist a Veteran to get off the streets. Hell, I feel sorrier for a non-Vet that does not have as much help. By the time the light turned green, I had written this guy off as the biggest loser in three states.
Today…I am convicted and reminded, that, but by the grace of God, there go I. Today…I want to scoop him up, or at least hand him the info of www.va.gov/homeless or help him dial 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838).
The above site is the starting point for any Veteran needing assistance off the streets or to avoid the streets. Without judgment, without pride, Veterans must depend on our brothers and sisters to make sure they are aware of how to receive the resources available to US. This site provides everything we need to spread the word. I encourage everyone to print a few items and keep them with you to share with a Homeless Veteran the next time you see one. Sadly, I know there will be a next time, http://www.va.gov/homeless/resource_center.asp. Without judgment, I commit to spread the word, will you join me?
If you are a homeless Veteran, I urge you to not let pride stand in your way, take the help and then you will be ready to assist another.