One Moment in time
As the great Whitney Houston sings; “I want one moment in time when I’m more than I thought I could be.”
That “moment in time” came for me a week ago Sunday, when sitting in the lobby of the Inn at Riverwalk, in Edwards, CO. I was joined by an older gentleman who I would come to know as “Mr. N”. We had a “fireside chat” and I would learn of his difficult journey. At an early age, “Mr. N” would gain a full scholarship to Stanford in Physics, his future bright. And yet, in his one moment in time, he would be drafted into the Army to attend the Vietnam War. There, he would go onto the status of war hero (in my book), whereby an enemy AK47 attempted to take his life and arm. He has endured multiple surgeries on his hand/arm over the past 40-years, with some sense of success. However, he has been scarred by PTSD (as have I). I encouraged him to go on, only to learn of how our Country and ultimately the VA has let him down. With delays in mental and physical help, he maxed out his credit cards. When his landlady lost her job, she was forced to double his rent. In doing so, “Mr. N” did his best to find affordable housing near his “personal” doctors in the Vail Valley. As you might have guessed, that did not happen and he was forced into homelessness. Two weeks into living in his car, he came to me fireside to warm up. A morning of two degrees outside, he was nearly frozen. Did he complain? No. Did he offer his story up to me? No. I instinctively knew that he needed my help. I told him that the FreeBird Foundation of Evergreen, CO had a new division titled; “Adopt a Vet” and that he was our newest member. Go on he said. We adopt a Veteran for life & we never let them go. First, we put them up in the same hotel that we stay, while we find them permanent housing. We give them $5,000.00 to use as they see best; food, car repairs, credit card payments, etc. Then, we pay the first six-months rent on an agreed-upon apartment. Well, that brave soldier, that did not want me to know that he was homeless, began to cry. And, I can’t stand to see a grown man cry! But I stood strong for him and stated; “welcome to the FreeBird Foundation of Evergreen, CO, “Mr. N.” I created this division for you.”
Since that fateful day, I have been on point to change the lives of Veterans. How does the great United States of America let their war hero’s go without “lifesaving” mental and physical help? This is a nonpolitical question and an outrage. So, I encourage all my friends on LinkedIn to ask yourself the same question, before another war hero goes hungry, freezes to death, or worse commits suicide.
We all have one moment in time.