Homeless Veterans Receive Supplies, Services in Augusta 

More than 100 volunteers came to Augusta to serve those who have served our country. Homeless veterans from around the state were given essentials like medical care and a hot meal. “We’re trying to give them a hand up not a hand out because they want their dignity and we want to go ahead and respect them and give them what they can use to hopefully break the chain of homelessness,” said Jim Doherty, Communications Liason at Togus.The Togus VA Medical Center is just one site for this nationwide program called Homeless Veterans Stand Down. Its goal is to help reduce the number of homeless veterans in the country until there are none. “These are sad stories and the stories that should not happen here in the United States of America particularly from the men and women in the military,” said Representative Mike Michaud.But on this day, these men and women are given special care from a visit to the eye doctor to a visit to the hairdresser. They’re also given a bag of donated items that they’ll need to survive the long Maine winter. “I’m grateful for all this stuff because it gives me the opportunity to know that my time in the military wasn’t wasted,” said Air Force veteran Donald Lahoux.It’s a way to boost their morale so they may be motivated to get back on their feet. One former homeless veteran says it worked for him. “Here I am today leading a group of nice guys that need the same type of assistance I needed 8 years ago. What goes around, comes around,” said Navy veteran Bill Neville, who was once homeless.Sometimes to become independent, you need a little help. Those at the VA Medical Center want veterans to know that’s what they’re there for.Togus Medical Center Director Brian Stiller said, “To create some kind of connectivity so we can start to build relationships that can be therapeutic in helping them move forward in their lives.”And in doing so, help the nation move forward in order to end homelessness among veterans for good.