As many people comment here on A News Cafe.com about what others are doing or should be doing about the homeless situation, I will tell about what we are doing for our homeless veterans here in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Community Action of Laramie County operates a homeless shelter in south Cheyenne for military veterans. VFW Post 11453 donated $10,000, and AMVETS Post 10 donated $11,000. Much of the money came from raffles.
This money was used to remodel and refurbish 16 apartments in Cheyenne for homeless vets. Likewise, in Fort Collins, the veteran organizations readied 20 apartments for homeless veterans.
As many of these veterans carried everything they owned in duffel bags or shopping carts, the apartments were furnished for them to move in. Furniture was donated, mostly from Goodwill. Bedding and pillows and linen were donated by local hotels as they upgraded their own supplies.
Finding decent silverware and kitchen utensils seemed a problem. That is where my wife and I did our small part. As we hunted for antiques at auctions and garage sales, we also looked for decent silverware and utensils. We gave the items to our friend Diane, who is president of the VFW Post 1881 Ladies Auxiliary who outfits the kitchens here and in Colorado.
It was after I read a particular paragraph in a Wyoming Tribune Eagle story about the homeless veterans housing program that I realized why I help this organization:
“Tristan Jackson is a U.S. Navy veteran of Operation Desert Storm and has a 100 percent service-connected disability. He also has PTSD among other issues. Ten days ago, after two years living on the streets, he entered his new apartment. Jackson said, ‘I don’t know how to explain it. Have you ever been so worried about something and all of a sudden it’s lifted off you? It felt like a cross I’d carried for two years was taken off my shoulders. I felt like I could breathe, like I was somewhere safe’.”
Since moving from Shasta County to Cheyenne my wife and I had donated many items to the VFW, and as they knew we attend auctions they asked for certain items to outfit veterans’ own kitchens, such as a small crock pot, or grill, or other items. When they needed silverware for these apartments, they contacted us.
Many say that veterans should help their own, but I am not a veteran, and the recipients will never know I helped. So why do I help?
I never really thought much about it, because it was such a small deal. But then I read the article about Mr. Jackson and thought, “I helped him.”
People like Tristan Jackson are why my wife and I do what we can for this very important cause.
And then I wondered: If this program could work in Cheyenne, maybe it could work in Redding, too.
Bruce Vojtecky lived in Shasta County for 40 years, the last 22 of which were in Anderson. His wife is from Hayfork and has numerous relatives throughout Shasta and Trinity counties. Bruce worked as a custodian for the Shasta Union High School District until his 2006 retirement, which is when he left the area for Cheyenne, Wyoming, to be near grandchildren. He and his wife spend their time to auctions and garage sales. He claims addictions to – in no particular order – auctions, garage sales and haunted places.