Last night at the monthly meeting of the Londonderry Democratic Committee we collected canned goods for Liberty House. This morning I had the honor of delivering the goods.
Liberty House is a transitional home and drop in center for vets. We first heard about Liberty House from our September speaker, NH Rep. Steve Shurtleff (D), a veteran and retired US Marshall. Since that meeting we've been working on ways to support and hopefully in 2008, make Liberty House the focus of our fund raising efforts.
In my opinion there is no better group of people for Democrats to support than the forgotten veterans on our streets. These men and women are mostly from the Vietnam and First Gulf War eras but many vets from the current wars are being cast off by families and ending up on the street. We support them and we Democrats support candidates who will not forget their service to our country once they come home.
Read on for one Vet's story.
So, I just got back from my visit to Liberty House
I dropped off the much appreciated box of food we collected then sat at the kitchen table for an hour with Judy and Bill Zarakotas.
These two angels could speak for hours on the plight of homeless vets but I just want to pass on one story. I'll be mentioning more stories in letters to the editors of our papers. That is the one thing they asked. Please get the word out by letters and any means we can. dKos fits that description too.
Liberty House loses their federal funding on Dec. 31. The house is donated at $1/year and all they require is $50,000/year to get by. Maybe 5 minutes of the Iraq war. They have around 10 residents in good weather and the mission is to move them back into society. They also feed any vet that comes to the door and act as a drop in center for showers etc. There are an estimated 400 homeless vets in NH, 200 in Manchester alone.
Bill gets a call from Welfare up north. They have a "bum" who's been an eyesore on their streets for quite some time. Does Liberty House have room. Bill said to send him down in a pre-paid cab. The next day the "bum" knocks on the door wearing a t-shirt and carrying no bag. He has no possessions.
This "bum" is 83 years old. Eighty Three! He does have veteran's papers and ID.
This "bum" served in the South Pacific during WWII and has 8 commendations for service in almost every major sea battle.
In America this man who served his country with honor in the greatest war; This man is a "bum".
I am so ashamed for my country.
Please fellow Democrats! Please show support for these vets in your town or city.
Others like to "support our troops".
Let us be the party that supports the veterans the others conveniently ignore.
I forgot some details on how to contribute.
Liberty House is a nonprofit 501c(3) corporation (EIN#02-0469770); all contributions are tax deductible.
Liberty House, Inc.
75 West Baker St.
Manchester, NH 03103
Update 11/16 This story was put on the Union Leader Op-Ed page today: http://www.unionleader.com/...
Edited 11-18-07 I became aware that the town name I was given may have been incorrect and I don't want to wrongly accuse the good people at the our welfare offices.