Saluting our Veterans

By Dr. Chad Audi

With Memorial Day approaching, we turn our thoughts to warmer weather, vacations and remembering the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. It’s important that our military veterans who did make it home from war know that we care about them and their future. Sadly, veterans make up an estimated 25% of the nation’s adult homeless population. Yet veterans only constitute 11% of the total population.

Many veterans fall on hard economic times when they come home. It’s heartbreaking to see someone who has literally given his or her blood for our well-being end up living on the streets. At the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) , we go above and beyond to help our war heroes. We have a program called the Veterans Independence Project, which provides transitional housing and services to homeless men and women who have served our country in the military. In collaboration with the Detroit field office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, we help the veterans with housing, employment, social and medical services, and educational programs to reintegrate them into society.

“David” came to DRMM for help when his life began to fall apart after serving in the Army during Operation Desert Storm. David suffered through depression and a divorce. He was fired from his job while on medical leave for an injury sustained at work. The arguments with his family increased, and David struck out on his own. “I ended up staying in my truck for a while and I thought about me being a vet there might be some places I could call and get some help,” he says.

We helped David with shelter, food and clothing. He found a job helping other veterans turn their lives around, and he is enrolled in community college. His future looks bright. You can watch David’s story at: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1283758/help_for_veterans/.

As we get closer to this patriotic holiday, let’s think about what we can do to honor and assist our homeless and disadvantaged veterans. And coming up in June, we are setting aside a Marathon Day of Prayer to honor our U.S. troops. Keep checking this blog and the DRMM Web site for details.

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