I'm tired of waiting for the government to help. Aren't you?
It was a struggle. He was a heavy guy and I coaxed him to lean back so I could raise the front wheels off the ground. Even then it was tough slogging through the gravel.
Wouldn't you know that when we got there all he wanted was to drop off some things he had been given and return to the exhibits, so I tipped him back and pulled him back to the sidewalk.
I saw him several times later inside the blimp hanger when the Orange County Stand Down for Homeless Veterans was taking place, and we always smiled and waved to each other. No help needed. None asked. None given. Self-reliance was an issue for him.
It's one of those days I'll never forget.
I had signed up to be a Peer Navigator, to guide homeless veterans to the services they needed. Health exams. Dental care. Flu shots. Free clothing. Free legal and financial assistance. Wellness services like chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, yoga, and tai chi classes. Substance abuse counseling. Spiritual services. Shelter and housing assistance. Employment services. Educational counseling. Family services.
There were showers and free meals.
Every veteran there benefited.