Veterans Day is an important time to reflect on the sacrifices that those who have served and are currently serving our country have made for the common pleasures that we all enjoy but sometimes take for granted.
One of the most poignant stories reflecting that sacrifice is the story of Pat Tillman, a former NFL player for the Arizona Cardinals who after 9/11 decided to forgo the financial stability and fame that being a professional athlete provides and serve his country. From what I have read, Pat did this not to gain notoriety or additional recognition, but because he felt a draw to serve his country and protect his country from those that had just perpetrated the largest murder of civilian’s in our nation’s history. By all accounts, Pat was a superb solider, comrade and leader who unfortunately died as a result of a friendly fire incident while he was serving with his unit in Afghanistan. Thursday, November 6th would have been Pat Tillman’s 38th birthday and I am sure that his family misses him every day but knows that he died protecting and fighting for a cause that he believed in.
Recently, it has become very popular to attach ourselves to veteran’s issues. Our veterans remain a population that gives up so much to do what they feel is right that we need to not only provide recognition on nationally recognized holidays such as Veterans Day, but also provide the support and services necessary the other 364 days a year.
HealthNet’s Homeless Initiative Program serves all segments of the homeless population but has and will continue to serve a large portion of Indianapolis’s homeless veterans. In 2013, HIP served 2,868 clients, 466 of those individuals were veterans. Of those 466 homeless veterans, 136 were housed in one of our veteran housing programs including intensive case management to work on supportive goal building and achievement.
HealthNet’s Homeless Initiative Program veteran housing program has enrolled 119 veterans in 2014. Indiana has the nation’s 4th largest National Guard of the 50 states. As more Indiana veterans become homeless, supporting our nation’s heroes will continue to be an important role. Every day, especially Veterans Day, HealthNet thanks those who are currently or who have served our country and their families for their courage, support and sacrifice.
Post by Matt Holland