Veterans continue to be our top priority. We currently have 14 veterans in our shelter on Gray Street. 14 of 40 guests are veterans and are currently in a housing plan being connected to not only housing resources but medical care and VA benefits. 4 of our 12 single adults living at McKown Village are veterans.
Also, potentially interesting. The average age of the women living in our shelter is 62. 18 women live in our shelter and 12 of them are over the age of 50. Six use walkers or wheelchairs.
There was a gentleman named John who came to stay with us last year. John is one of the men you might see walking up and down Main street as he would visit Food and Shelter in the daytime and go to the library to read in the afternoons and evenings. Though I did not see John with a shopping cart too often, he did have a large suitcase he pulled with him that helped protect his back from carrying everything he owned in a backpack.
John suffered from severe anxiety and PTSD from his time in the service. He served in Afghanistan alongside his army company. This anxiety and PTSD often made him seem on edge when he was simply just anxious. He was not dangerous but sometimes looked unkept. This was simply part of being homeless. If you looked past his rough exterior and took the time to talk to John, you would find his mind was amazing. He learned tactical things in the army that made him understand mechanics like a savant. I really enjoyed listening to his stories.
John and I started to communicate more regularly and we learned together he was eligible for many benefits he had yet to receive. Using our partner we got him eligible for those benefits which included a HUD VASH voucher. John was finally getting housed!! Through our work we got him into a facility to help with his PTSD and anxiety. He is so much better today. He is like a different man.
Stories like this are just as important for non-veterans. Often what looks dangerous and unappealing (homelessness is dangerous and unappealing for the people experiencing it the most), are people who just need an opportunity. They are people who grew up with abusive parents who never got a chance. I often tell people none of the men and women I meet at Food and Shelter were dreaming of being homeless as a kid. They were dreaming of being football players and doctors and army men. Life and poverty and abuse got in the way of those dreams.
Serving in the United States ARMY
Walt Gage - Korean War Veteran
Jess Jaques, Sr.
Members serving in the United States Navy:
Members serving in the United States Air Force:
Members serving in the United States Marine Corps:
Members serving in the United States Coast Guard:
William D. Roberson
CRC VETERAN HONOR ROLE
(deceased club Veterans).
Al Ernst - U.S. ARMY
Juan Villarreal - U.S. AIR FORCE
Herman Wilson - U.S. ARMY
WE SUPPORT A GREAT VETERAN CHARITY AS PART OF OUR CLUB MISSION:
The cRc actively supports the VETERAN RECREATION FUND, a fund administered by the Chaplain of the Oklahoma Veteran Centers. Our fund arranges gifts and surpises for those Vets who are in any of the Oklahoma Veteran Centers yet have no known relatives and no known visitors.
All the money we make by putting on the annaul Norman Veteran Center car show and what we make from the Moore Olde Towne car show goes into this fund.
In January 2023, the CRC received $840.00 in donations for this fund. Shown above is CRC car show team leader Ray (right) who is giving DAV Chaplain Tommy (left) the checks from the club that were collected.
Posted June 26 by Jim Roberson:
As many of you know Nath and I have had a sidecar for the last few years. As age gains on us all I realized that I could no longer be safe on this bike. It sat for 2 years before I could get the strength to sell it.
I listed it online and had a response from a guy in up north. He’s a 75 year old, Army Vet with cancer with no idea as to how much life he has left. He purchased the bike not knowing if he has 2 days, 2 months, or 2 years, only knowing that whatever time, he was going out on his terms.
He told me he’s as excited as a child at Christmas. May God bless us, in the gearhead group, with the same love and drive for our chosen rides, as this man, and do our best to pass on that passion to those who come after us.