Veteran Drop-In Center Recognizes Homeless Veterans - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Veteran Drop-In Center Recognizes Homeless Veterans

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The Gladys Ray Shelter and Veterans Drop-In Center in Fargo held an afternoon cookout to thank the area's homeless veterans.

The Veterans Drop-In Center is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to provide basic services to local homeless veterans.

"They can come in and meet their immediate needs: get out of the weather, have something to eat, check their email, check their regular mail, take a shower, do their laundry- a lot of those really immediate needs as well as longer term" says Executive Director Jan Eliassen.

The Gladys Ray Shelter and Veterans Drop-In Center wanted to find a way to thank veterans for all of their sacrifices. When Eliassen asked them, veterans decided that a cookout was the appropriate way to celebrate Veteran's Day.

"Today we barbequed hamburgers and brats and potato salad," says Navy Veteran Neal Minter.

Minter served in the Navy in San Diego from 1988-1991 and was discharged for medical reasons.  

"I ended up having so many problems upon discharge of service that the best avenue for me was to collect disability pension, so that's what I do now," he says.

Minter says it's hard to shake the disability stigma and unemployed, homeless veterans are not as uncommon as people may think.

"Just here at Gladys Ray Vet Drop-In, total, that drift in and out, there's probably 20 homeless vets in the city of Fargo," he says.

Those that fought for our country- now fighting to survive.

"Well, there are things that shelters and soup kitchens don't provide, so I go out and provide for myself," Minter says holding his handmade sign to hold at intersections.

Veterans nonetheless this holiday.

"We're worn out veterans, don't discard us. We're still here in this society, we're still here in this country and we're still people. Don't just discount somebody because they're broken, beaten, scarred," says Minter.


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