By Wayne Doyle
Alone in the destitute trenches of Vietnam, young and terrified, the thoughts of getting home alive a constant tormentor. With the whistles of bullets and cries of pain screeching throughout the open air, this was hell on earth for any man. For 64 year old Sergeant Joe Williams a Vietnam veteran whom served for his country between 1967- 1970 as an EF Sergeant, this wasn’t the case. Joe states “I fear for my life now simply because I am homeless and a small portion of the youth today have no respect for people like me. I fear for my life just as much now as I did in Vietnam, I’m just facing a different type of violence, a violence that could easily be avoided.
The coalition of homeless veterans in the United States claims between 130,000 and 200,000 veterans are on the street in any one given night. A further 23 per cent of the homeless population throughout America is made up of soldiers, men and women alike whom so desperately fought to protect their country. An astounding 47 per cent of these are from the Vietnam era alone. Of those soldiers 89 per cent received an honorable discharge for their time served.
Peering through his smoke stained spectacle lens’s Mr. Williams States “ they wanted me to go back, I said no, no way, I served my three years and wanted to be home with my family”.
“ I now live on a non service pension from the American government of $985.19 cents per month. To be honest, I’m barley surviving. I don’t do drugs or have a problem with alcohol, so why is it so difficult to get my own place”. The Army doctor’s evaluation of Mr., Williams stated that he couldn’t be granted the full service pension of $2,500 because his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was non-service related. PTDS is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in physiological trauma, the US Army stated that Mr. Williams suffered PTDS from his own personal life, states a depleted looking Mr. Williams.
Adam Wawrynek whom assists Mr. Williams and many other Vietnam veterans alike, is working on getting Mr. Williams accommodation. Mr. Wawrynek was unavailable to comment. “ he is a Good man, he has been trying to help me out, and other places just tell you one thing and do something else. Paper work is so strict now a days, it ends up sitting on peoples desks and they don’t feel the need to hurry”. Mr. Warwrynek works for Vietnam Veterans, he doesn’t work with them, States Mr. Williams.
Mr. Williams Speaks of New York City Rescue Mission, which was the first homeless shelter in New York City in 1872. It provides warm meals, clean beds, and clean clothes. Space is limited and if you don’t arrive before 6 :30pm, you cannot enter. “ even if you do arrive in before then, your still not guaranteed a bed. You have to enter a bed lottery and hope and pray that if that person doesn’t arrive for their bed, your ticket gets pulled.
Homelessness is a real problem with real consequences for people such as Mr. Williams, these men and women offered the lives for America, the land of opportunity, the land where all man and women alike are equal. These are just some of the superior labels associated with this great nation. It time to step up to the plate and protect and help people such as Mr. Williams because this country is forever indebted to them.