With today being Veteran’s Day, I am going to make one more plug for everyone to visit their local Veterans’ Memorials. For the November Issue, we took a bit of a tour through Illinois and Wisconsin and took photos of local community Veterans Memorials. No matter the location or size, the message at each Memorial was the same: to honor those who served our country and protect our freedom. With each Memorial that we stopped at, no matter what community we were in, we felt the same wave of admiration and gratefulness wash over us. To commemorate Veteran’s Day, we posted the following on our Facebook Page today:
“Thank you. I know of no better words to capture the selflessness and generosity of every man or woman who has ever worn the uniform of the United States of America. At a time when it has never been more tempting or accepted to pursue narrow self-interest and personal ambition, all of you remind us that there are few things that are more fundamentally American than doing what we can to make a difference in the lives of others. And that’s why you’ll always be the best that America has to offer the world. And that is why people who never met you, who never knew you, will always be grateful to the friend and ally they found in the United States of America.” – Barack Obama
Continuing SCOUT’s quest to seek out things that will engage and inspire our readers, we featured a new project in Freeport, Illinois called Hero House in our November Issue. Hero House is the brainchild of the Freeport Area Church Cooperative, and will benefit disabled and homeless veterans. Located at 218 W. Clark Street in Freeport, Hero House is comprised of a five one-bedroom apartment units that will be made available to honorably discharged veterans who meet the definition of chronically disabled and homeless. A sixth permanent apartment unit will also be available to a veteran or non-veteran adult who is chronically homeless. Hero House is the first facility of its kind in the area.
Unfortunately, Veterans make up a disproportionate number of homeless adults. There are many reasons Veterans can become homeless, including poverty, lack of support from family or friends, substance use, or mental health challenges that may develop or worsen as a result of trauma they may experience while serving our country. Hero House will provide a safe and stable place for homeless, disabled veterans to go, keeping them off the street and providing them a chance to enter back into the mainstream.
Hero House is more than just an inspiring story; it’s a model for communities to follow. It’s a story about recognizing a need in your community and taking action to do something about it. I have been toying with the idea of starting a column in SCOUT about “Doing Something” about chronic problems or issues that are happening in your community/school/workplace, etc. This Hero House project may have persuaded me to start this column in 2014.