Lynchburg area veterans cancel veterans parade to focus on homeless vets

Local veterans, community organizations to hold luncheon to address homelessness

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Pittsylvania County native Frank Freeman sits at the steps of his soon-to-be new home, while he speaks with 10 News reporter Magdala Louissaint. 

"I had some issues with PTSD. I had some trouble recouping with civilian life and I made some bad decisions," Freeman said.

In September, he and six other veterans who were once in prison will move into a house on Craddock Street in Lynchburg that the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council and the Lighthouse organization built just for them.

"When you are homeless you can't really focus past that. Nothing's permanent. There's no beginning," Freeman said.

It's because of this home, Michael Brady with LAVC said they will discontinue the annual veteran's parade to focus on a new mission.

"Poverty was a bigger calling. So the calling is what helped us make the decision that we don't have time to do the parade," Brady said.

The group has only held two parades, each costing $37,000 with help from donations and leftover funds. 
Before, local veterans had not been honored through a parade in 80 years.

"If we save one person from committing suicide, one person ... keep that person alive," Brady said.

Right now, Brady said they can count eight homeless veterans of the more than 680 homeless people in Lynchburg. 

"If they got PTSD, they need help. Who's going to help them with PTSD?" Brady said.

Freeman, who can already see the benefits of the group's efforts, says this is diverting funds in the right direction.

"They're actually hands-on saving a life and restoring hope," Freeman said.

On Aug. 12, at the University of Lynchburg, LAVC will hold a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. to talk about homelessness, poverty and resolution plans.

If you'd like to attend call 434-544-8158 to RSVP.