147.The New friend of the Friends of Wanderingvet

Dear Friends and Wanderingvets:

Tonight I had the privilege to meet “Mark”.

“Mark” is a former Vietnam Navy Corpsman. I met him coming out of my night job. Mark is currently sleeping rough in the vicinity of a Seattle suburb and I am not publicizing his photo due to local law enforcement crackdowns on homelessness in that area.

I came out out of work a little after 10 P.M.. and was preparing for my hike back to my digs. I noticed a solitary man with a little bag and white nursery blanket spread out over some shrubs. This was in an attempt to let the blanket to dry and air some. Mark had been to an Operation Stand Down also. I could tell this from a pair of outdated or out of issue pair of cold weather field pants in a bag he had. These old issue items are commonly distributed at these events.

Mark was wearing pants that were rolled four to six times and were faded and severely stained. His jacket was also worn extremely and non weather repellent.

So stopping to talk to “Mark” I learned he was a Vietnam Vet and a former Navy Corpsman. He is also a prosthesis wearer. He proudly pointed out that he had received his new leg courtesy from the VA in Seattle over in Beacon Hill.

Funny things happen though. Earlier I had to buy myself new shoes… when you are walking six plus miles a day walking to search out the homeless I had to take out the coat I normally pack and put it on to fit in my new shoes. This was to save room in my backpack, but admit it was chilly outside at 50 degrees.

I pulled out one of our “Vet Packs” full of Granola Bars, Shaving Cream, and other health sundries and he rubbed his half inch of stubble and said “Shaving Cream?” These came from AnAmerican and her friend at Walgreen’s Drug Stores. He seemed excited about the prospect of being given items to clean up his disheveled appearance.

When I was looking at his pants and asked what size he wore he said 34 waist… I had 34 waist and 30 inchinseam pants donated from friends of wanderingvets in North Carolina in my backpack and he almost cried as it was perfect. I gave him a shirt and the coat I took off that I had put on earlier.

I gave Mark some directions to some safer camping spots. I hope to meet up with him to substitute his baby blanket with a sleeping bag (mine). I can buy a new one. The happiness on his face also left me saddened at our parting that I could not do more for this man. That he is sleeping rough with nothing more than his meager goods in a tote bag and a blanket being carried in his arms left me saddened.

The bad thing about this was that I am building the trust of another rough sleeper. I had been noticing him in another location and we have been exchanging nods and he tends to run away when approached. I have wanted to help this man a few times.

Tonight after assisting Mark I had nothing left. I can only carry so much. I hope that the other man can forgive me and tomorrow evening will give me another chance for another opportunity to aid. As well in this same location I have seen an increase in homeless car dwellers. This all happens within an area where they say there is no homelessness.

Your Friend.


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3 Responses to “147.The New friend of the Friends of Wanderingvet”

  1. 1 Friends of Wanderingvet
    May 12, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Thanks for sharing the story about Mark with us. Keep the stories and photos of your good works coming.

    We encourage all readers to get involved in your community. Start with the guy at the exit of the interstate or the person on the park bench that you quickly walk by. He/she is hungry, could use some personal hygiene items or an item of clothing to stay warm and dry. It feels good to help and to know that the items will go to good use.

    Friends of Wanderingvet

    I do not quickly walk by him, at the beginning he quickly walked away being noticed. As our relationship developed, it is like wary combatants until we meet.

    That is what it is like with a lot of aid workers and homeless / needy. Some think we are weirdos or psychos. It takes a while before trust levels are built. Some are open to friendships, and are open armed to approachment. Every episode is different. The Friends of Wanderingvet are the most valuable arm in any community.

    Thank You Friends, And NC is Kickin!


  2. 2 AnAmerican
    May 21, 2008 at 12:56 am

    Thank you for doing the “foot work” needed for getting donations to those in need.

  3. May 28, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you for your continued writing.

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Wanderingvet@wanderingvets.com AnAmerican@wanderingvets.com

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