SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - There are about 1,500 veterans living in Shelby County, and the veterans service officer for the area said right now, many of those veterans are finding themselves homeless and jobless.
John Shultze Jr. moved to Shelby County to run a family's property but has since found himself in a challenging situation.
"I was with them until today I guess," Shultze said.
Shultze walked into the Shelby County Veterans Service Office with all his belongings fitting in a small backpack and hoped Sherry Riley could help.
"Right now, we have an issue with some of our veterans who are finding themselves homeless and without work," said Sherry Riley, a Shelby County veterans service officer.
"Things have kind of changed, so as it stands right now, I'm going through a transition period ... so here I am," Shultze said.
Riley says that so often our veterans are only honored on specific days of the year, but in reality, they face every day challenges and need a helping hand.
"It's heartbreaking of course. They've sacrificed in many different areas of their lives for us to have the freedom that we have here, and for us not to give back to them is wrong," Riley said.
And giving back is exactly what Riley is trying to do. She's started a fundraising campaign with the help of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter to help two veterans, a father and son, who are living in a deplorable trailer with no windows.
"You know if you really want to thank a veteran for their service then help us give them the service that they need. Help us get them the housing that they need and the jobs that they need. That would be thanking a vet," Riley said.
In addition to donations, Riley says pre-paid cell phones and Walmart gift cards are greatly needed to help people like Shultze, who despite being homeless and jobless, has a positive outlook on life.
"This is probably nothing compared to what I've been in, and it does challenge you ... it does challenge you but the only think I can say is you've got to keep your head in the game and go from there. It's not forever," Shultze said.
And Shultze's life-is-full-of surprises attitude paid off. Riley got a call and found him a warm, dry place to stay.
"I just want to see the community come together and honor our veterans and let them know that we do care about them and that we are here for them," Riley said.
If you would like to donate you can do so here: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/8ft4/a-home-for-shelby-county-disabled-veteran-and-his-father
You can also drop off pre-paid cell phones, gift cards or other assistance to the Shelby County Veterans Service Office on the first floor of the historic courthouse in the square or contact Sherry Riley at (936) 598-6530.