No matter the circumstances, one thing that remains the same with military members alike is the camaraderie. Whether they’re active duty, retired or in-between they always take care of their own. The perfect example is the Penrose VFW Post No. 2788, during their second annual homeless veteran awareness camp-out.
During the camp out, members endured long cold nights, long days and took time off of work in order to raise funds, donations and awareness of the homeless problem facing America, particular homeless veterans. Taking shelter out of makeshift cardboard boxes, and relying on the community’s kindness for food and supplies. They were able to raise donations that will help local homeless veterans and veterans in need.
This year, a rough estimate of 5 truck loads of donations, which is less than last year, was received. Approximately $9,000 was raised during their 4 day camp out which, is about a $1,000 more than last years. Approximately 20 members were present the first two days of the event but due to members work schedules the event ended the last night with around 10 members.
“This event’s goal was to spread awareness of homeless veterans in our community, by sleeping in boxes it really hits home to people because it’s right in their face”, says Justin Horn the Trustee of the Penrose VFW. The donations get spread through a variety of different ways, through Loaves Fishes, other organizations that deal with homeless vets but the main way is through the Penrose VFW direct support for veterans.
The VFW encourages anyone else with donations that they can sacrifice, to stop by the Penrose post and leave a donation. Donations of socks, coats, underwear, pants, shirts, blankets, cash donations and non perishable food items are all greatly appreciated, says Justin Horn
“As active duty Army, seeing the camaraderie still existing years after their service has ended is really awe inspiring. It really makes me feel proud to be part of such a community” Said Troy Johnson who’s currently active duty Army stationed at Fort Carson.
The camp out concluded after four days of fundraising with the Flag Folding Ceremony which the Cañon City High School Color Guard ROTC preformed. Next year, for their third annual camp-out, new ideas have already begun, like having extra cardboard boxes to facilitate and encourage any community volunteer’s to come and join the camp out.