Local military veterans helping Vietnam War veteran - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Local military veterans helping Vietnam War veteran

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

SALEM, AR (KAIT) – Former military veterans in the Arkansas State University Veteran's Organization have been working over the last few weeks to raise money, supplies and awareness of veterans in need. In Fulton County, a former Vietnam War veteran has hit tough financial and emotional times recently and has moved from his trailer home into an old gas station.

"He's gone through some tough times in his life, and we're trying to make this gas station more of a home for him," said Jeremy Quador, who is helping lead the effort.

Anthony Dickerson, who served four years in Vietnam, said he appreciates the help Quador and other veterans are providing, however, he said many other veterans are hurting as well.

"Two years after I came home, I decided well I'm going to go to a VFW, and I wasn't welcome there," said Dickerson. "Why do I deserve that? I thought I was doing what was right and there are thousands out here that feel the same way. Why did they do this to us? Why did they turn their backs on us?"

Recently, a friend took Dickerson to Little Rock to a veteran's hospital. Doctors said he was alcohol dependant and suffered from major depression.

"Drinking is a problem, but that's not the problem I have to deal with right now," said Dickerson.

Dickerson currently lives in an old gas station. His only source of heat is from a wood burning stove, which he also cooks on. He has no running water or electricity because he can't afford the utility bills.

"They shut my power off down there and I couldn't afford to heat the whole place during the winter, so I moved everything I own up here," said Dickerson.

Dickerson said he was arrested for DWI 20 years ago. He said he makes money by doing odd jobs. He also said he was a certified HVAC technician.

"Someday I want my gasoline islands here with old gas pumps on them and sports cars and hot rods and stuff parked around. Until then, I've just go deal with what I've got," said Dickerson. "The first room is full of all kinds of Chevrolet parts. I've got it if you need it."

Dickerson lives on property owned by a friend.

"The man that owns the actual deed to this property is kind enough to not kill me," said Dickerson.

"It's what he has right now, so we're trying to help him out. We want to make sure that all of our combat vets, not just combat vets but all veterans from the military are taken care of," said Quador. "When we do our time and put time into this country to make sure it's safe, and make sure that our citizens get to live the lifestyle they want to live, we don't ask a lot."

Quador said he's trying to locate plumbers, electricians and carpenters who can help donate time and/or supplies to remodel the old gas station.

"Why should I ask this gentleman to spend 10 seconds of his life to help me? Because we're blood related because we're military," said Dickerson.

"It's sad that our military veterans have to live in something that most of us would drive by and not even blink an eye lash at," said Quador. "Part of the Arkansas State Veterans Organization, what we're trying to do with the other students from Arkansas state is make sure that the awareness is out there that the community understands that we have veterans out there that need support."

For more information on donating supplies or money, or to volunteer time, contact Jeremy Quador at jeremy.quador@smail.astate.edu.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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