Thursday, November 24, 2016

Veterans Join Forces to Care for Homeless Veterans

Did you thank a veteran? These vets are returning the favor to poor, homeless
Modesto Bee
November 23, 2016

Earlier this month, on Veterans Day, scores of people approached scores of veterans and thanked them for their service. But if they think serving the nation and the public ended the day these vets mustered out of the military, think again.
Terrence van Doorn, left, with Team R2 and George Retana with Operation Rescue sort clothes to be given to the homeless Wednesday afternoon at Graceada Park in Modesto. Joan Barnett Lee
Late Wednesday afternoon, two groups created and led by veterans and sharing a common goal – to serve the community and the disenfranchised – pooled their resources to feed the homeless at Graceada Park. They also distributed coats and blankets and other clothing items to help those without shelter to endure the colder weather as winter approaches.

Terrence van Doorn and George Retana both served in the Marines in Iraq. They saw veterans who were homeless. They encountered veterans who brought the wars home with them emotionally and mentally. They met veterans who felt most unappreciated. They decided to do something about it, and one great way to make veterans feel more valued, they said, is to get them engaged in helping others.

After leaving the military, van Doorn, 33, wanted to begin a career in law enforcement. But he struggled to shake the post-traumatic stress disorder cobwebs that developed from fighting in Fallujah, where friend and comrade Michael Anderson Jr. was killed. I wrote about van Doorn in 2009. He’d passed the written and physical tests with hopes of becoming a deputy sheriff. But he couldn’t pass the psychological exam due to his PTSD.

He got the help he needed and tried to hire on at the Department of Corrections, which also rejected him. He continued to get counseling and, in 2006, the Ceres Police Department hired him and put him through the academy.
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