The Paw Print
I first found out about La Puente 3 years ago when a buddy of mine came as an AmeriCorps member. I had the amazing opportunity of coming out and volunteering for about a month with him. So in January, 2013 when he texted me that the shelter really needed another volunteer I jumped on the opportunity immediately!
Since January I have been volunteering full time at the shelter and running the Veterans Program. For those of you who don’t know, La Puente Home has run a VA sponsored Per Diem Program since 2011.
The Veterans program allows homeless veterans that have served their country with honor to stay at our shelter for up to 2 years. The program involves intensive case management, working closely with social services to allow veterans to reach a self-sufficient lifestyle.
One veteran that I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know is Daniel Guevin. Daniel served our country in the US Army during peacetime.
Daniel had used our services in the past so it was nice to welcome him back to Alamosa. When I asked him why he came back to Alamosa he told me flat out: “La Puente is the best shelter in the nation.”
This statement blew me away! I know we run a pretty tight ship around here, but I never thought anyone would ever say we were the best.When Daniel returned to La Puente he came with a dire health need. See, Daniel has 4th stage colon cancer and the doctors have given him only months to live. We had been working on getting Daniel government benefits so he could enjoy his remaining time, but the government shutdown that lasted over two weeks made it difficult to contact benefits representatives and get updates on his applications.
Over the months, I got to know Daniel and we talked about a menagerie of things including places wwe’ve been and government reform. If there was one thing that I have gleaned from our conversations it was that you should never give up, even in the face of adversity! I think that’s what I appreciate the most about him: a spirit of hope. Most people would have thrown in the towel if they were in his situation but Daniel never did. He was one to always have the courage to push through and make the best of his situation. Daniel is one of many homeless veterans in this nation who served their country with bravery and dignity.
Let us not be blind to all the homeless veterans of this nation who too easily fall through the cracks and are forgotten. Thankfully Daniel was able to save up enough money to move back East to spend his remaining time with his family and friends.