Local News

Services Help Homeless Veterans Help Themselves

Posted October 20, 1999

— They served our country with honor, now many veterans are living on the streets. VA Medical Centers across the country are reaching out and offering help.

Thursday, the Fayetteville VA Medical Center teamed up with several community groups to sponsor what they call a "stand down." Homeless veterans received a hot meal, free flu shots, dental checks and counseling services.

Vietnam veteran John West does not consider himself homeless. For the last ten years, he has lived in a tent in the woods rebuilding old bikes.

"Twenty years of my life I lived out in a tent in the military, it's the lifestyle I enjoy," says West.

Other veterans do not see it that way.

"Some are hooked on alcohol, and then some of the young know one job skill when they are in the military, and when they get out it's hard for them to convert," says LeRoy McCullough, commander of VFW Post 6018.

Nationwide, 250,000 veterans are homeless. That is about the same number of people that call Raleigh home. Fayetteville Police say they know of at least 60 homeless veterans within city limits.

For them, there is help. They are provided information about going back to school and job services.

"It's like Christmas in the middle of the year. I really appreciate it," says one homeless veteran of the help offered.

But for all those who came for help, many others don't want it. John West is the perfect example of that.

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