Penticton Western News letter to the editor

Letter: Helping our nation’s homeless veterans

Bringing the Homes for Heroes Foundation across Canada and to B.C.

Today, our first project for Homes for Heroes is opening in Calgary.

Our group here in B.C. is working with the Homes for Heroes Foundation and the province to access provincial land and bring this project here. With Poppy Week and Remembrance Day coming up, we need to address the issue of our homeless veterans.

I will take the liberty of sharing with you an experience I had Sunday, Oct. 27.

When we visit Arizona, we go to a Legion every time we are there. There is a man we have known for more than 10 years. Jim is an amazing musician and very “with it” in the financial field. But it ends there—broken marriage and very lonely. At times I have tried to avoid him because it is like talking to empty space.

On Sunday he joined us. I told him about our Homes for Heroes project and after a moment of silence he said: “I have never shared this with anyone and it is a huge burden on my soul. I was in the U.S. military in Vietnam. Because of my ability to speak the language and the fact that I looked like one of them, I was sent into a village to (reconnaissance) and report.

“I was not to engage, just fit in—wander around like a homeless idiot, report by radio on any enemy movement. Some women were trying to gather fruit from a tree, so a youngster and I climbed up and were throwing the fruit down. I saw the enemy coming and jumped down and hid. The youngster fell from the tree and tumbled down a crevasse.

“I hid for three days and nights listening to this child screaming until he died. Then I picked up his dead body and took him to the village. The villagers attacked me because the enemy knew I was there, and the villagers blamed me. They suffered horrible abuse in the questioning.

“I have never been able to tell anyone, not even my priest. Thank you for what you are doing. Maybe if I had been able to unburden, my life would be different.”

That inspired me to work diligently to bring an end to our veterans’ abuse. I am part of an awesome group started by Al Plett. The purpose is to raise the funds and establish this (Home for Heroes) project across Canada, and especially here in B.C.

It hurts me as the daughter of a Second World War veteran that we are celebrating Remembrance Day but forgetting our recent veterans. The Home For Heroes Foundation is an awesome group dedicated to help our veterans.

There has not been one day in the past 100 years where there was not a war somewhere. How can we ask our young to go to war to keep us safe when we abandon them when they come home so emotionally wounded? This impacts not only them, but their families. This project also works with the families so that they too can recover.

All can donate to this worthwhile project by going to www.homesforheroesfoundation.ca and clicking the donate button.

We respectfully ask that if you do donate, that you add a note that the donation is for the B.C. project.

You can reach co-founder Al Plett at sensei_al@aol.com, or me, Christine Eden, at HomeFr.HeroesProject@shaw.ca.

Christine Eden

B.C.

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