The Lebanon Seniors Citizens Center, Avalon Hospice, Quality Center and Home Instead Senior Care joined together to sponsor the event, which included guest speakers, door prizes and a pinning ceremony for all veterans.
Guest speakers included two veterans – Lebanon business owner Pete Norman and Wilson County Veterans Affairs director Michael McPherson.
“For 20 years, I’ve listened to people say we need to do something about homeless veterans,” Norman said.
Norman said he, along with a group of others, leased a house on Park Avenue dedicated to temporarily housing homeless veterans. Norman said veterans could stay in the home for up to a year while they get their lives back on track.
“We went in cleaned, scrubbed, painted and opened a house. Two days later, we filled it. We had five veterans. Our first graduate was last Friday,” Norman said. “The man that left last Friday now has a pickup truck. He went 90 days at his job and became full-time. He has an apartment and is out on his own.”
Norman said Julie Hadlock with the Next Step Resource Center and the Associates of the Vietnam Veterans of America helped significantly with the home.
“We just cannot believe how many of these veterans are out there that you just don’t think about,” he said.
Norman said the group is accepting donations, and is actively searching for vehicles for veterans. To donate, call the Next Step Resource Center at 615-547-9999, Norman at 615-804-4404, or visit Uncle Pete’s Truck Stop on Wednesday mornings.
McPherson, who stepped into his role in January, discussed his office and its role in ensuring veterans receive and understand the benefits and services allotted to them.
“I know some things get messed up, but I will do everything I can do to fix it. Nine times out of 10, I’m fixing it. If you have a problem with the [Veterans Affairs], hospital, billing or anything, come and see me first. I promise I will help you,” McPherson said.
McPherson said the office was responsible for more than $67 million in compensation for county veterans since January.
For more information, contact McPherson at 615-444-2460.