Meet the Pittsburghers who are making sure our returning vets have jobs, homes and food, and find out how you can help.
This story is part of a bi-weekly series that celebrates people who are reaching across a divide to “build bridges” with those different from themselves. The Get Marty Bridges series is made possible with the support of UPMC.
Veterans. We love them. We respect them. We value them. And each November 11th, we set aside a day to recognize their service with a national holiday.
But who makes sure our veterans are cared for every day of the year? That people who sacrificed for us and our country have jobs, food, clothing, safe places to live when their military work is finished?
There’s a group in Pittsburgh for whom Veterans Day is every day. That’s where we met two remarkable vets whose stories of service have come full circle.
The Veterans Leadership Program dates back to the early 80’s. That’s when a changing economy eliminated many manufacturing jobs and threw many vets out of work. A group of Vietnam veterans stepped in to help.
Today, two non-profit chapters remain, including the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania, which serves nearly 900 vets a year with housing, emergency services, and job counseling.
CEO Ben Stahl gets a little emotional when he thinks about the difference he and his staff are making for veterans and their families. “The veterans we serve, their sons and daughters. Seeing a kid who is homeless and now has a door to their own room. That’s priceless.”
The Sparkt Bridges Project is produced with the generous support of UPMC. Life Changing Medicine.
How can you get involved?
If you’re inspired to help the Veterans Leadership Program, or you’re a vet who needs help, there are lots of ways to get involved.