NMSU Student Veterans Group Helps Homeless Veterans
The Student Veterans Association of New Mexico State University organized a fundraiser to remember sacrifices made on and after 9-11. This year proceeds of the event will go towards the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope’s Homeless and Near Homeless Veterans Assistance Program.
The Event has traditionally been held at the Harley-Davidson Store In Las Cruces the Kimberly Barnett owns, “ We work locally with several different veteran outfit’s and have always done that for thirteen years, and this is just one of huge projects that we share with NMSU,” says Barnett.
In 2012 The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a study that in one single night counted just over 62,000 veterans who were homeless. According to Stevie Hanson, student veteran that number is a growing epidemic.
“A lot of veterans are getting of active duty and are having a hard time transitioning from military to civilian life and a lot of times they find themselves unemployed with nowhere to go, or they have an apartment and they are unemployed and all of a sudden they can’t make the bills and within a short amount of time they are ending up on the streets,” says Hanson.
The Mesilla Valley Community of Hope helped 152 veterans last year, 83 required help with housing. The proceeds from this event will provide more resources for area veterans needing help according to Nicole Martinez, Executive Director of Mesilla Valley Community of Hope.
“The fundraiser coming up will really help us with the donations that do come in for our veterans that lead to us being able to house them more efficiently,” says Martinez.
The proceeds also will help with client services, which can provide information on what the veterans are in need of. According to Martinez, at any given time there may be between five to ten veterans living in Camp Hope, a tent city that is located on the premises of Mesilla Valley Community of Hope. One of those veterans is Robert Grudewicz. He and his wife Mary have lived in Camp Hope since April.
“I’ve got a support system with my wife. So when things really get to me, at least her and I can talk about it. A lot of Veterans don’t have that,” says Grudewicz.
Grudewicz, a former Army Drill Instructor says he holds no frustration being a homeless veteran in a country that he served for over twelve years, because he says he is thankful for the opportunity that he had.
“I was very grateful for the chance to serve our country. Yeah, things are a little rough right now, but it doesn’t take back twelve wonderful years that I wore the uniform. I was somebody special back then, and I still thank God I had the chance to serve. Every veteran should feel that way,” says Grudewicz.
Registration for The Third Annual Ride to Remember 9-11 will begin September 7th at 10a.m. at Barnett’s Las Cruces Harley-Davidson.