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Local nonprofit serves senior veterans

Posted November 16

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— More than 700,000 veterans live in North and South Carolina, and roughly 41 percent are over the age of 65. One local nonprofit is working to provide support for senior veterans, who often lack necessary resources.

Veteran Gordon Jeans served in the military for 10 years before returning home, earning two degrees and starting his own successful business.

“I was in three of the last heavy divisions that exist today,” Jeans said. “I was still walking then. The injuries hadn’t gotten so bad that I was on a cane or in a chair yet.”

But when the chronic pain worsened, he had to cut back.

“A 40-hour a week job now is just out of the question because of that. I can do a few hours here and there, but sooner or later, I’ve got to get out of the chair,” Jeans said.

Because he was out of steady work and quickly losing mobility, Jeans’ bills and home repair needs piled up. Like many senior veterans, he struggled just to meet his most basic needs.

“I call them senior veterans, but in private I call them the forgotten veterans,” said Pat Lloyd, chairman of Carolina Veterans Support Group.

Lloyd started his nonprofit to help older veterans like Gordon Jeans. This summer the organization installed a cooling window unit to his home that had no other central air conditioning.

“They have a problem because they have so much pride. They don’t want to seek help if they can help it. So, somebody has to step in,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd said he and his organization are proud to be that “somebody” and said he hopes that more people join them to support those who have served.

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