Veteran outreach volunteer opportunity spans island

| June 21, 2013 | 0 Comments
Soldiers of the 500th MI Bde. join forces with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help to identify homeless veterans and provide them better opportunities. Sgt. Todd Sherman (right) and Spc. Alejandro Marrerro shake hands and talk with “Joe,” a retired Navy veteran currently homeless on the outskirts of Chinatown.

Soldiers of the 500th MI Bde. join forces with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help to identify homeless veterans and provide them better opportunities. Sgt. Todd Sherman (right) and Spc. Alejandro Marrerro shake hands and talk with “Joe,” a retired Navy veteran currently homeless on the outskirts of Chinatown.

U.S. Army-Pacific 
Public Affairs

Celebrating the Army’s birthday is not solely a time for festivities. Pacific Army Week dedicated June 11 as a day of service to those veterans no longer wearing the uniform.

Throughout the day, more than 250 Soldiers manifested the “Soldier for Life” philosophy into consolidated action serving Oahu’s veteran community by volunteering with homeless and homebound veterans and veteran programs.

Pacific Army Week is a week of activities on and around Army installations in Hawaii in honor of the Army’s birthday. This year celebrated the Army’s 238th birthday. The Veterans Outreach Volunteer Opportunity was one of the key events of the week-long celebration.

Soldiers from units throughout U.S. Army-Pacific volunteered across Oahu to give back to those who have served in uniform previously.

Projects varied, like parterning with veterans organizations across the island and canvassing neighborhoods in Waikiki, Diamond Head and downtown Honolulu areas to locate homeless veterans and help educate them about the programs and resources available to help them get back on their feet.

 

KANEOHE — Spc. Alfred Murray, Rear Det., 524th CSSB, 45th Sust. Bde., 8th TSC, cleans a Kaneohe Veterans Cemetery headstone. (Photo by Spc. Erin Sherwood, 45th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

KANEOHE — Spc. Alfred Murray, Rear Det., 524th CSSB, 45th Sust. Bde., 8th TSC, cleans a Kaneohe Veterans Cemetery headstone. (Photo by Spc. Erin Sherwood, 45th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Other service related projects included area beautification with painting, maintenance and yard work at shelters, veterans facilities and the Veterans Affairs’ Center for Aging. More than 50 Soldiers volunteered to clean up the Kaneohe Veterans Cemetery, as many of the headstones were unreadable due to years of neglect. Others volunteered to visit homebound veterans who needed assistance with projects around the house that they themselves cannot take care of.

HONOLULU — Soldiers with the 8th TSC, TAMC and the 25th ID unload appliances from a church in Ewa Beach to an emergency bed house that will eventually shelter as many as 20 homeless veterans at a time during the “Soldier for Life” Veterans Outreach Program, June 11, here. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gaelen Lowers, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs)

HONOLULU — Soldiers with the 8th TSC, TAMC and the 25th ID unload appliances from a church in Ewa Beach to an emergency bed house that will eventually shelter as many as 20 homeless veterans at a time during the “Soldier for Life” Veterans Outreach Program, June 11, here. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gaelen Lowers, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs)

Across the island, volunteers expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to give back and reach out to veterans.

“I know it can happen to anyone. It’s disappointing to see anyone homeless, not just a veteran. But it is pretty heartbreaking after they’ve given so much to have so little given back to them in return. We’re out here to help make a difference and help change that,” said Sgt. 1st Class Maurice Smith, USARPAC Contingency Command Post.

The effort was met with much appreciation from the veterans.­­

“I’m proud of the Army for doing it. You know, they don’t have to and it’s a great service,” said David Foster, a homeless veteran. “A lot of the veterans deserve help, and any bit is appreciated.”

 

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