Today is the day to remember all of our veterans, past and present.
I am sorry to say that many veterans come home to nothing; no family, no home, no comfort. Many of them live on the streets and make their way as best they can. They often don’t have the resources or the help they need to get them through what used to be called “battle fatigue” or “shell shock.” This is now called PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Many of them turn to drugs and alcohol to get them through the days and nights. Many returned home with physical and mental wounds that the rest of us cannot possibly understand. Considering what they have been through, I can understand the attraction of numbing themselves.
Last month the Crankee Yankee and I met a remarkable veteran, Peter MacDonald, who is currently helping homeless veterans in his own way. He heads the Veteran Resort-Chapel Tiny House Project in Lee, NH. After talking with him and seeing how he and his group are making life easier for these warriors, I asked what we could do to help.
“A letter to the editor in the local papers would help,” he said. So I put the following letter together regarding this project, and am waiting on his reply to send it off to the local papers. I hope that you will be moved by what Peter and his group are doing to help our heroes and also give them a sense of home and peace.
Regarding the Veteran Resort-Chapel Tiny House Project
“My husband and I went to the last day of the Deerfield Fair on October 1. There we met a man, Peter Macdonald, who is doing all he can to help homeless warriors by building a community of tiny houses for veterans who have no place to go.
Every male in my family served during WWI and WWII. Several of my friends were terribly injured and/or died in Vietnam. My own step-daughter, a West Point graduate, had five deployments in the middle East, starting with the downfall of Saddam Hussein.
The military is close to my heart, and what Peter Macdonald is doing is angels’ work. I personally never served, but I have a good life because of those who did and do serve. I can’t imagine what it is like to be in a war and then come back to try and life a ‘normal’ life.
In America, we enjoy freedoms unheard of in many countries. We cannot and must not forget the men and women who put their lives on the line for us to keep our freedoms. Too often, these brave ones come back from wars and conflicts broken physically, mentally and spiritually.
The fact that so many vets are homeless is shameful. I understand that many people are put off by having vets in or near their communities. Many people dismiss the vets as “drunks or druggies or worse.” They don’t want them anywhere near their homes; ironic when you think that we Americans have the good lives we have because of those who survived conflicts we can’t even imagine.
(If you are curious as to whether I and my husband would welcome previously homeless vets to live next door to us, the answer is YES.)
When my husband and I talked with Peter, I learned many things about the homeless vets. Besides needing medical and psychological help, they need peace and quiet. Peter told us that they are far more comfortable in small spaces, and that they feel safer in the quiet woods. Also, in this peaceful setting and in a place they can call home, they may be able to find a way to live out their lives in dignity, comfort, safety and hope.
Please take the time to visit the website, www.veteranresortchapel.com to see what is being done for those vets who served and came home to nothing and were forced to live on the streets. And if you’re thinking, ‘why don’t they just go to shelters?’ Some of them just can’t.
Why? Because there are specific rules and regulations that they must adhere to, and sometimes this is just too much for someone who has had to see and do things we civilians can’t imagine.
Peter Macdonald and his ‘little house movement’ would greatly help some of these brave and shattered men and women and give them peace, comfort, safety and time to heal.
For more information on Peter Macdonald’s “little house” movement, please read the article in the Baysider on June 2, 2016, “Veteran embraces the little house movement to shelter homeless warriors.”