PRINCETON - The topic of homeless veterans is something we've heard about in the past, but never quite like this. Now a Tri-State organization is raising money to build a memorial honoring those who served in any war, including those who are currently homeless.
One event organizer says the problem is bigger than most think.
As thousands of surge troops are heading back home this week, many of them know they have family or friends to come back to. But, for some veterans dealing with the aftermath of war isn't always easy and not all of them have a place to go.
Rodney Bond is a veteran of Vietnam, and served in one of the world's bloodiest wars. Bond tells Eyewitness News, " I want them recognized. I don't want them forgot."
For a small fee, most veterans can pay to have their names put on the National Veterans Memorial. But, for some of our American heroes, even the small fee is more than they can pay.
Bond says," It's sad that we can, here in America say we got homeless vets. People that fought, some died, many died, and there they are sleeping under bridges. It's got to stop."
The group wants to give homeless vets in our area their chance to be honored.
As a vet himself, Bond feels it's simply the right thing to do." They're heartbroken, they're excited for what we're doing. But, you can see in their eyes they don't want to be where they're at," says Bond.
His road to where he is now hasn't always been the smoothest. He admits fighting in a war often comes with a high cost and those who do it should never have to sleep on the streets. It's something he saw first hand at a young age when following homeless veterans and getting a glimpse in to their struggles."It made me cry. It should be...a veteran...they shouldn't be homeless."
It's not just a problem plaguing big cities bond says, and he knows of hundreds of homeless veterans sleeping under bridges or on the streets of Evansville.
"I realized that we've got hundreds of homeless vets in just Evansville." As our brave men and women continue to come home from overseas, people like bond want to make sure they have some place to go after their service to defending freedom is over.