Scores of homeless vets to be housed thanks to $1M donation to Hawaii nonprofit
By Allyson Blair| June 19, 2017 at 9:01 PM HST - Updated August 10 at 6:26 AM
Crippled by post traumatic stress disorder, Staff Sgt. Sterling Beair struggled with everyday life after returning from the battlefields of Iraq.
"Coming home with all the things and experiences a medic might go through kind of left a big hole in me," said Beair. "That lead to poor choices, drinking. That lead to substance abuse. That lead to destruction of my family."
The soldier was homeless on Oahu for two years before getting hooked up with US Vets while locked up at OCCC.
"These guys gave me a place to lay my head, food, breakfast, lunch and dinner," he said. "Clothing on my back, because I came here with nothing."
Today, Beair is sober, in a place of his own and working towards his Master's degree.
It's stories like Beair's that prompted The MacNaughton Group, a local development company, to make a $1 million donation to US Vets in Kalaeloa.
It's the largest gift in the non-profit's history.
"We have a close friend of mine who is departed ... Mr. Alan Kidwell was a vet, and he had a warm heart for people who fought in Vietnam," said Duncan MacNaughton.
A portion of the money will be used get homeless veterans into a place of their own.
Over the next year, US Vets says it will use the money to help 150 veterans move from the street into permanent housing.
"They need start up money, the money to be able to move in, the first month's rent, last month's rent, electricity, furniture, dishes," said Darryl Vincent, of US Vets. "Things we take for granted."
US Vets also plans to hire a case manager who can follow up with people who've been housed, making sure they have what they need – things like therapy and substance abuse treatment, so they don't end up back on the street.
Beair says that support is crucial in during recovery.
"The gave me everything I needed so I could figure out what was going on with me. I wouldn't be standing here today if it wasn't for that bed," said Beair.
Part of the funding will also be used to renovate US Vets recreation center.