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Nov 11, 2013 8:47 PM by Joanna Wise

Penrose veterans raise awareness about homelessness

Sometimes, the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference.

"It really restores your faith in humanity," said Miles Daffron, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Fremont county.

In this case, it all starts with a sleeping bag, a cardboard box and a bottle of water.

"We're trying to raise awareness for the homeless veterans"

According to veteran affairs, more than 60,000 veterans are homeless.

"Of our homeless people, one out of four of them are vets," said Daffron.

These men and women- all members from VFW Post 2788 in Penrose- thought what better way to raise awareness than to spend the weekend as homeless veterans themselves.

Since Friday, this is the place they've called home, sleeping on the cold hard ground, right next to a busy highway.

"Some of us are finding out we're not as young as we used to be," Daffron jokes.

But the response they've gotten makes up for the discomfort.

"The public is honking the horns as they go by and they're providing monetary support or food donations. they've been over feeding us!" exclaims Pete Pederson, Commander of VFW Post 2788.

All proceeds will benefit homeless veterans in the community.

For miles Daffron, this experience has been personal. He spent 33 months in the army, 27 of those in Vietnam.

"I look back and i'm totally ashamed," he said.

Why?

A man who represents valor and honor for our country should feel anything but ashamed.

"The way I treated my wife and my kids...." Daffron confessed, as he choked back tears.

Daffron suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. He says he can never get past the trauma of war, a reality for many homeless vets. With the help of family and friends, he managed to transition to a post-military life.

Now, this is his way of paying it forward.

"I don't know of anybody that does not have a good feeling when helping someone else. That's what we're all about," said Daffron

You can still make a donation. Just send it to the VFW Post 2788 in Penrose. They will make sure it gets to the right organization.

 

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