Soldier helps homeless veterans - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Soldier helps homeless veterans

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You've heard them before. "Army Strong." "The Few. The Proud. The Marines." The slogans that speak pride and strength and sound anything but weak.

They are trained to be tough; Taught to be resilient.

It's the reason why Army Sergeant First Class Aaron Patrick says some veterans are afraid to come forward with needs right here in the tri-states.

But the stark reality is the biggest veteran need Patrick says he sees right now is homelessness.

"Because we feel like we have to be strong. We have to overcome our problems you know. Have resiliency all the time. And a lot of times the only reason why we have the resiliency is because of the people we work with," said Patrick.

People like each other. Veterans that understand. And so these homeless veterans can get a bus or train ticket to Iowa City, the nearest place right now with a homeless program for them.

There, they get a warm bed, food, and assistance getting back into the career field and the path to independence.

Sgt. Patrick says through partnerships with the career centers, AmVets, and the different organizations in the area like the VFW, they'll refer the homeless to the Tri State Warrior Outreach.

And while the outreach works to place homeless veterans with a program to meet their needs, Patrick says there are many more needs out there.

In December, the Tri State Warrior Outreach built a ramp for a Canton veteran recovering from a stroke.

But it's not just the aging or the sick veterans that get help. Patrick says even the young guns can fall on hard times.

"The other unmet needs with utilities, falling behind on rent, and food and stuff like that. Stuff to keep them in their house. Not letting them get evicted," said Patrick.

Patrick says the program needs community support to keep these veterans in their homes and on their feet.

While some may view soldiers as a proud bunch with a big ego, sitting down with Patrick, one may discover an even bigger heart.

He saw a need and co-founded the Tri State Warrior Project. He has one simple request: "For veterans to come forward."

Patrick says they shouldn't feel ashamed about having a need.

"And they're not willing to break down and say, 'Hey. I'm having these issues. I got maybe PTSD or I'm struggling with medical or mental issues or money.' They don't want to feel that 'I've served my country but I have nothing,'" said Patrick.

And that's where Patrick and his brothers step in. Patrick says only a veteran can understand what a veteran is going through.

The outreach works side-by-side with the employment offices in Hannibal and Quincy to try to veterans hooked up with jobs so they don't find themselves in tight spots.

They also work with AmVets, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the United Way has even taken the outreach under it's wing.

Patrick says this network creates a strong partnership to get the word out that these veterans just need to come forward and ask for help.

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