Homeless Veterans

He spends his days at busy intersections, asking drivers for a hand out.

At night he sleeps in the woods. He asked to be called Ralph.

He served in the Navy during Vietnam and came home to contemp.

“I had them spit on me because I was in uniform. Now they are the ones making the big money now days and I ain’t making, you can see what I’m doing,” said Ralph.

In 1970, Ralph hung up his navy blue uniform and picked up a bottle.

Drinking cost him his job, his family, and his dignity.

Unfortunately Ralph’s story is all too common among those who’ve served our country.

One out of every five homeless people is a veteran.

The Volunteers of America, which has services for homeless vets in seven Florida cities, bought this Tallahassee apartment complex and next week its doors will open to homeless veterans.

The Tallahassee American Legion helped furnish the 52 units. Commander Val Frailey says there aren’t enough spots.

“There are about 10 times that many who would like to be in there,” said Frailey.

And for many of those down and out soldiers, like Ralph, Veterans Day is…

“Just another day. Just Another day in the neighborhood,” Ralph said.

A day that serves as a reminder that the country has too often turned its back on those that have served.

For more information on how you can help homeless veterans or if you know a homeless veteran who needs help go to www.voa.org


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Kathy on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:46 PM
    I'm a veteran. Sometimes it hurts to get up in the morning. I drank, that was the way of the military, but there is a line you can cross. I've never crossed it. have to provide for myself and my family. I can't sink into that despair that is so calling. I get up everyday, Sometimes I hate it but I do it. I am not a victium, I'm a surivior. If you have a mental illness, I really feel for you. There is no help.
  • by Anonymous Location: tallahassee on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:26 PM
    He most certainly was in the war, he was my relative and just because you think he's not "old enough" doesn't mean thats the truth so get your facts straight before you go around throwing accusations. You know nothing of him, so don't jump on it to be judgemental when you don't know anything.
  • by WCTV Viewer Location: Georgia on Nov 12, 2009 at 11:06 AM
    A lot of guys lied about their ages to join the military back then. To say that he CHOSE to drink is not completely correct. Most of the Vietnam Vets were NOT GIVEN any choices when they returned. Many were called murderers & "Baby killers" & avoided like the plague. It didn't matter that those "babies" were strapped with bombs and taught to blow themselves up along with as many American soldiers as they could. Being sent to a war that we were never intended to win & then abandoned would make anyone drink! Dismembered American bodies strewn all over Vietnam, the echoes of their cries as they lay dying are all these Vets can hear and not erase from their memories. No, until you have BEEN where these Vets have been & seen the human destruction of war firsthand, don't say that these guys CHOOSE to drink or runaway. They endure more pain & horrors than it is possible to grasp. But the people who say these things are the people who don't have the guts to serve, but easily criticize.
  • by Me Location: Florida on Nov 12, 2009 at 08:16 AM
    I saw this man on the news. I would like to see proof that he was in Vietnam. He looks too young to have been there. My brother was there and a lot of my high school buddies was too. They are now older with white hair. This guys' hair was still dark and he just didn't look old enough. The fact that he chooses to decay in a bottle is his choice. CHOICE
  • by Tally Location: Tallahassee on Nov 11, 2009 at 07:42 PM
    It was the American Legion Post 13 that knocked on doors from Tampa to Washington, DC to get the grant for VOA to purchase that apartment complex.
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