Dale

The day I met Dale, he was in the middle of a crowded San Francisco sidewalk. But he was very much alone. He was in his wheelchair, trying to position his body upright so he could pick through the contents of a garbage can. Swarms of people, tourists and businesspeople, hurried past. They all seemed too busy to stop and notice one man’s struggle, one man’s devastating plight.

If these people knew Dale’s story, maybe they would not have hurried past so quickly. Dale spent 14 years serving our country, including two tours of Vietnam. As a result, he has serious health issues that confine him to a wheelchair. Yet, he says the only help he gets from the VA is free coffee and donuts.

The stories of homeless veterans are among the hardest to watch, if you ask me. These are men and women who were willing to wear the uniform, willing to put themselves in harms way. It must be tough to come to the realization that their country – the people and ideals that they fought for – are not half as eager to heal their pain, to have their backs. Seems there is just too much hurt and not enough money. Still, there is a lot of noise these days in Washington about ending the atrocity of veteran homelessness. It is critical that this talk become real, tangible solutions. Our veterans have waited long enough.

Today is Veteran’s Day. Today we will remember the sacrifices of our Veterans and honor their unselfish service. The day I met Dale, he was in the middle of a crowd. But he was alone, picking through a garbage can.

This Veteran’s Day, let’s remember the plight of veterans – homeless in America. And let’s resolve to do something about it.

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  • adam1105

    When I listen to homeless people talk about god (Dale didn't mention god, but lots of others have), I think I understand what they are talking about. When you get so very down in life and when people don't even see you, invisible people, you need something. There is only one way you can turn — and that's to god. Not the god of miracles and lots of other silly things. The deep down god.

  • microguy

    I'm a web developer and single father. My hope is to one day have time to help the homeless using the Internet. I should be in a position in a few short months. Thank god for all you are doing to get the message out about the homeless in America. You are an inspiration to me and my family.

    I have forwarded my domain to this website until I can get it fully developed. http://www.thankgod.tv.

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  • http://www.showyourcolorsbyjennifer.com/ Jay

    Thank you for allowing us to meet Dale and the people that are walking pass. In my life I have been in a crowd and not seen. It is an exsperience that motivates me till this day.

  • jane

    Unacceptable. Please people let us help.

  • 82Bach

    Dale's story really touched me. Given the fact that we have American service men and women fighting senseless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there will likely be many more Dales in years to come. What the hell is wrong with the VA? Free coffee and donuts? Why can't they get this man some modest housing? Anything. Just a clean bed and roof over his head. Our society is losing its way. We are in headed for decline. The signs are everywhere. Dale is clearly a good and decent man with a lot of pride. I hope that more people will stop and talk to him. Thank you for doing so. I pray more people will offer him a helping hand.

  • Alex
  • http://www.igg-girl.com/ Katrina

    Don't you all love how no one stops to pick up that piece of plastic garbage on the ground? Why is everyone so damned self absorbed.

  • mother

    the human suffering is the most terrible thing to see, be it sick, homeless, dying, wars, killing etc. I feel so sorry for all those who suffer. There are people who swim in money, and then there are those who have to sleep under the sky. Life should be balanced.

  • Anne

    I just contacted the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. They knew absolutely nothing about Dale and were not helpful in any way. No wonder these veterans are in such a bad way.

  • Thomas

    VA does have programs to help him. He can apply for pension benefits, since he is a wartime vet it shouldn't be a big deal. He doesn't have to pay a co-pay if he has limited income which he does. There is housing programs etc for veterans that isn't available for the general population.

    Please when you meet homeless veterans take them to the nearest DAV (Disable American Veterans) office. VA is run by the government and rarely do they guide a veteran through the red-tape, or explain the benefits that the veterans have earned. DAV is an organization that helps disable or homeless veterans through the VA maze.

    Thank you for highlighting this important issue that is facing our nation,

    Thomas

  • Shawn

    Where can we find Dale – to offer him help?

  • Shawn

    Where can we find Dale – too offer him assistance?

  • Thomas

    Anna, I have never hear of “National Coalition for Homeless Veterans”, which doesn't mean a lot, except as a veteran I do not recall seeing or hearing anything about that group. I do know that the DAV (Disable American Veterans) has an office at almost all VA hospitals and clinics, their national number is 877-I AM A Vet (877-426-2838). Homeless veterans need to understand that VA benefits is not a form-of-welfare in stead it is an earned (worked for) benefit.

  • Shawn

    Where can we find Dale – to offer him help?

  • Shawn

    Where can we find Dale – too offer him assistance?

  • Thomas

    Anna, I have never hear of “National Coalition for Homeless Veterans”, which doesn't mean a lot, except as a veteran I do not recall seeing or hearing anything about that group. I do know that the DAV (Disable American Veterans) has an office at almost all VA hospitals and clinics, their national number is 877-I AM A Vet (877-426-2838). Homeless veterans need to understand that VA benefits is not a form-of-welfare in stead it is an earned (worked for) benefit.

  • Dave

    As sad as it is to see a man who has served his country, now having to scrumage thru a trash bin for food, the sadder fact is that we as americans tend to turn a dark eye towards this type of suffering. We are more consumed with “reality tv” stars live, or who is dating who on the Batchelor or what your outfit says about you. Its terrible that something as simple and meaningless as the clothes we wear
    can really define how others will see and treat us. If we were to put this man in a nice suit would his situation change, no, but more than likely he would sadly be noticed more and probably get attention from others wondering why a man in a suit is digging thru trash, as stupid as it is the clothing we wear affects how others see us. its ridiculous
    It doesnt really matter what you wear
    WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS and all are deserving of respect and dignity

    il leave my comment with the almamater from the college of the famed Rod Serling

    “Be ashamed to die, until you've won some victory for humanity”

  • Keith Davis

    I'm not sure where else to send this, so I'll post it here. Would it be a problem if I typed out this interview and used it in a psychology experiment? I'm studying the motivations for generosity, and attempting to compare generosity in response to statistical data to an empathetic interview. My method is to give the appeals to people along with five pieces of candy, and have the read the appeal. For each piece they give back, I will donate five cents to a local homeless shelter. I plan on getting data from 100 people if I can. Thank you for your time.

  • Keith Davis

    My email is kingk3d2@yahoo.com

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  • michele

    What a gentle soul an still says yes sir w a smile on his face i will never forget dale ever no vet should be homeless an the va dont do as much as most think or they help this man

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