Homeless Veterans Get Pick-Me-Up

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

Some area veterans received a big thank you Saturday.

A couple of local organizations decided to give back to those who have already sacrificed so much.

The House of Benjamin is a homeless shelter for veterans.

It's located on College Street here in Dothan.

Saturday, the VFW and Wiregrass Patriot Guard had a little Christmas party to make sure those who are down are their luck, aren't forgotten.

'Tis the season for giving.

“You always want to give back to those less fortunate than you,” said C.J. Watson, Commander of Dothan’s VFW Post 3073.

She, along with the Wiregrass Patriot Guard, are showing some homeless vets a little love this holiday season.

“They were out there fighting for our country and our freedom and people at home sometimes don't appreciate what they do,” said Jimmy Shiver, Senior Ride Captain with the Wiregrass Patriot Guard.

The House of Benjamin played host to the 2nd annual event.

“What we do is provide services for veterans who have lost their way, they've slipped through the cracks and need some assistance returning to mainstream society,” said Earl Jones, Director of the House of Benjamin.

Jones estimates there are about 500 homeless veterans in the wiregrass.

“A great deal of the veterans have problems with drugs and alcohol, mental health issues and over time their support system has left them and we're providing a helping hand,” said Jones.

“These are the individuals who put their lives on the line for our freedoms and I mean we owe everything to them,” said state Senator Harri Anne Smith.

Watson says in exchange for their service, each veteran is entitled to all the help they need to get back into society.

“This country does not take care of the veterans they way they are supposed to be taken care of and that was promised to each and every one of us,” said Watson.

“I would like to see our government step up and take care of these guys,” added Shiver.
“They're (homeless vets) on the bottom rung of that ladder right now but maybe one day they'll climb that ladder again and they'll be a meaningful and valued member of our community,” said Congressman Bobby Bright.

Organizers say it's all about making each veteran feel better about themselves.

“If we can make one of them smile, then it makes me smile,” said Shiver.

The House of Benjamin is a 10 bedroom facility.

It is not an overnight homeless shelter.

They usually house veterans between four and six months so they can assess and address their every need.

If you're a veteran or you know of a veteran who needs help, just call the House of Benjamin at 794-8594

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