Skip to content

Active Duty National Guard Soldiers served homeless for Veterans Day

November 12, 2009

Sergeant Crystal Reidy describes moving from abandoned buildings to dilapidated houses to living in a van with straightforward coolness. Unfortunately, she was not describing her latest deployment in Iraq, but her life as a homeless child.

Sergeant Reidy and members from the 123rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment with the Arizona National Guard served dinner at the Phoenix Rescue Mission for Veterans Day yesterday. The 123rd just returned from Ealad, Iraq in August.

For Reidy, serving a meal at a homeless shelter is personal.

“Because of the National Guard, I was able to break the cycle of homelessness,” said Reidy, who joined the Guard right after high school graduation. “Without the Guard I would have started out my life as a homeless person. It is nice to be able to give back.”

At its annual Veterans Day Dinner, Veterans were pinned with a patriotic ribbon and served by active duty personnel. The Phoenix Rescue Mission shelters between 16 and 22 homeless Veterans nightly. Many more Veterans living on the streets come to the Mission daily for hot meals. Mission staff believe 85 homeless individuals who once donned a military uniform attended the Veterans Day Dinner. According to the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients, Veterans account for 23 percent of all homeless people.

Reidy’s message for helping the homeless is simple – treat all people with dignity and respect.

“My family was homeless most of my childhood. I always remember the little moments – a stranger who made me feel like I mattered,” said Reidy. “Those little moments are the reason I am standing behind the serving line this Veterans Day instead of in it.”

-Nicole Peña, Director of Public Relations, Phoenix Rescue Mission.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: