It is estimated that 50,000 veterans nationwide are homeless. With cold weather just around the corner, the Marion VA Medical Center is trying to give some local heroes a place they can call home with their seventh annual Veteran Stand Down.
After serving 21 years in the U.S. Army, Daniel Brittain retired from military duty in the summer of 1996, and he says not a day goes by he doesn’t miss it.
"I still miss it,” said Brittain. “Just the comradeship, friendship, and taking care of soldiers."
Brittain says his transition into civilian life was an easy one, but understanding his benefits was nearly impossible.
Marion VA spokeswoman Beth Lamb says Brittain isn’t alone.
"I wanted to do it on my own,” said Brittain. “That's the way I was brought up in the Army and brought up in life."
"Veterans are usually a proud group, and they don't like to ask for help,” said Lamb. “A lot of times we can get them that help."
From food, to clothing, and even health care, Brittain says he was surprised to find out about the benefits that were available right here in his own back yard.
"I was paying a lot of money at the pharmacies in town for my meds and my prescriptions and stuff,” said Brittain. “I talked to the pharmacy here, and now I pay $16 every three months for seven different medications."
By working to provide veterans with the benefits they’ve earned, Lamb says they hope they can make even a small difference that keeps veterans off the street.
If you know a homeless vet who is in need of help or are a veteran who needs help understanding what benefits you are eligible for, click here.
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