MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Veterans from the Valero Memphis refinery showed their support for their fellow veterans on Veterans Day.
They showed up at one of the housing facilities for veterans operated by Alpha Omega Veterans Services, Inc. with a truckload of donations, including televisions, tables and couches.
“It’s just a great pleasure for us to be able to come out and help our fellow veterans,” said Eric Brown, the refinery’s vice-president and general manager.
Brown said he wanted to help Alpha Omega because of the work they do helping other veterans.
“I don’t think everyone appreciates all the challenges that veterans go through on a normal basis,” said Brown.
The veterans who turn to Alpha Omega not only need help with housing, they need help rejoining society.
Cordell Walker is the nonprofit’s executive director.
“It’s hard to imagine someone going into combat and fighting then coming home and fighting homelessness and possibly addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury and depression and suicidal ideation and the myriad of things that go along with protecting our country and being a soldier,” said Walker.
Walker said Veterans Day provides an opportunity for the public to learn more about the issues veterans face.
“I think that today is so special in so many ways because it brings information to individuals that might not be aware of the sacrifices that our veterans make on a daily basis,” said Walker.
Veterans faced these struggles long before COVID-19. But the pandemic has added to the problems.
Over 5,000 veterans have battled COVID-19 in the Mid-South, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 230 have died from the virus.
A study by the Bob Woodruff Foundation found 14% of veterans worked in industries most likely to lay off employees during the pandemic.
There’s also loneliness due to social isolation.
More reason veterans with Valero wanted to show their appreciation to their fellow vets.
“Veterans Day is one day a year and our veterans serve 365 days a year and they need help 365 days a year, so whatever we can do to help them we should,” said Brown.
Valero has donated to Alpha Omega many times, including last week when the company donated cleaning supplies and household items.
For more information about Alpha Omega, including ways you can help, visit https://www.alphaomegaveterans.org/