Picatinny Soldiers keynote speakers for Homeless Veterans
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- On Aug. 23, Col. Willie Coleman, the project manager for Combat Ammunition Systems - Indirect Fire, served as the keynote speaker during a fundraiser for homeless Vietnam Veterans in Randolph, N.J.
"Recently First Lady Michelle Obama called the plight of homeless veterans, a stain on the soul of this nation," remarked Coleman. "She said that as Americans, the idea that anyone who has worn our country's uniform spends their nights sleeping on the ground should horrify us. And, she noted that it is our duty to right this wrong and put an end to homeless veterans."
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, approximately 400,000 Vietnam Veterans go homeless for some period of time in any given year.
The department also estimates the number of homeless Vietnam Veterans also exceeds the number of fatalities that occurred during that war. In addition, the agency also estimates that male Vietnam Veterans account for 47 percent of all homeless veterans.
"I was honored to serve as the guest speaker and I was extremely impressed with the chapter's dedication to correcting this epidemic of homelessness among our veterans," Coleman said.
Col. Jon Rickey, Director of the Defense Contract Management Agency, also spoke about Vietnam Veterans at the fourth annual Operation Chillout held Aug 9. in Budd Lake, N.J.
"Iraq and Afghanistan veterans represent 1.8 percent of the homeless veteran population, approximately 12,700 veterans," said Rickey.
"Operation Chillout view themselves as the first responders for veterans who have lost their way and need assistance."
<span style="font-weight: bold">Most Homeless are Males</span>
According to the veteran's agency, the nation’s homeless veterans are mostly male, only four percent are females.
"The turnout was tremendous and I had the honor to provide opening remarks highlighting the plight of homeless veterans.," said Rickey, who noted that "on any given night in America, 107,000 to 300,000 veterans are homeless which is one out of every three people."
Rickey also paid homage to his fiend the late Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, who was recently killed in Kabul, Afghanistan.
"The Marines say they never leave their dead, the Army says it will never leave a wounded Soldier behind," said Rickey. "Let's all pledge that we, as a grateful nation will never abandoned its homeless veterans."
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