LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Lynchburg hadn’t seen a Veterans Day parade since 1938, when it was revived for two years by the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council. But now they feel they have a new purpose.
“There is nothing more important than helping other veterans and eliminate, cut down on suicides,” said Mike Brady, the council's Outreach Coordinator.
And through efforts like opening their first Veteran’s Home in Lynchburg, and coordinating with Miriam’s House, they hope to do that by eliminating veteran homelessness.
“We’re thrilled to have the Veterans Council really focus on homelessness,” said Sarah Quarantotto, Miriam’s House Executive Director.
Because the problem is one that doesn’t just go away.
“Homelessness among veterans has pretty much stayed the same over the course of the years," Quarantotto explained. "So we had about 58 homeless vets last year in Central Virginia, the same number the year prior.”
Meaning that, while resources are available, the efforts have to continue.
“It’s so much more important, because it’s a three-hour, four-hour parade, and it took us all year to work on," Brady said. "Now we’re working on homelessness and poverty in Lynchburg, and that’s a whole year project, and it’s going to be going on and on and on.”
"What we really want to see is that we have the resources to meet the demand," said Quarantotto. "So that as vets become homeless in our community, we have the services and the housing in place to get them back on their feet.”
Because, for Brady, this is extremely important.
“We got to start paying attention to them," he said. "Because they’re committing suicide, and it’s because they don’t see the love in the community. We’re going to show them love here in Lynchburg.”
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