Serving Those Who Served
Community organizations, including some that are not veteran-specific, are figuring out how best to reach and serve an increasing number of veterans in need. By Dennis Gaffney Posted on February 10, 2015 Willie Ledbetter, a veteran who is formerly homeless, has been through Soldier On's program, and now works for Soldier On as the director of outreach and owns a unit in the Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community, Pittsfield, Mass. (Photo courtesy of Soldier On) Jack Downing is president of Soldier On, a nonprofit veterans housing agency that provides 265 transitional beds for veterans in western Massachusetts, making it the largest provider of transitional housing for vets east of the Mississippi River. Downing began providing shelter beds for vets in 2001, but in 2004, as he listened to a soldier about to leave for the war in Iraq, he had an epiphany: Providing only transitional housing for veterans was something he, and the country, should be ashamed of. "