Advancing National Service

Giving Homeless Vets a Helping Hand—and a New Uniform

January 31, 2014
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Giving Homeless Vets a Helping Hand—and a New Uniform
John Moore/Getty Images
They're getting a purpose, and a place to stay, in Arizona's State Parks.

Before he became the Executive Director of Arizona State Parks, Bryan Martyn served in the Air Force and Army as a special operations helicopter pilot. Saddened when he learned about the high rates of homelessness and suicide among veterans, Martyn decided to do something about it. So he initiated a new program in the Arizona State Parks to provide jobs to homeless veterans. He told Kyle Benedict of NAZ Today that his aim was to “give them a uniform, give them a job, give them a place to be and a purpose, pay them a fair wage and provide housing.”

One of the veterans helped by the program is Carlos Garcia, who served as a combat engineer in the Army for 14 years. He now works as a Park Ranger Specialist and lives on Dead Horse Ranch State Park in a FEMA trailer, which he describes as “pretty comfortable.” He works 8 to 5, earning $12 an hour, and enjoys the outdoor work so much that he hopes to move up from this temporary job into a permanent position with the parks department.

Martyn told Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic that he has funding to provide the first group of five veterans a 40-hour-a-week job for nine months, but that he hopes the vets might get on their feet even sooner. We hope so too.

MORE: This Paralyzed Vet Can Hunt and Fish Again, Thanks To the Generosity of His Community

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