Over 100 veterans and their families gathered today at Veterans Memorial Park in Clarksburg for a “Welcome Home” event.
It’s an event that not only helps bring veterans of all eras back together but also educates veterans on the benefits they can receive at the VA.
“It’s basically a thing to showcase the programs here at the VA. A lot of the veterans don’t know that some of these services are offered to them. So this is a way to get the word out about some of the stuff that is available to them,” said Mark Lockett, Transitioning Care Program Manager:
VA employees like Mark were there to talk about programs and benefits that the VA offers that many veterans may not be aware of. Some include giving homeless veterans a place to go.
“We have various dorms available that we contract through the city, whether it be with Fairmont or Clarksburg Mission, where we house homeless veterans and give them access to medical care, mental health care, addiction treatment,” said Marina Bilyeu, VA outreach social worker:
Larry Leeson has experienced first hand how these programs help.
Leeson was released from prison in May after, he says, being wrongfully imprisoned for five years longer than his sentence should’ve been.
“And when I came back I went to the VA to get some help because I lost everything I had. If it wasn’t for this agency and the social department and the veterans administration, I wouldn’t be here talking to you. I’d be wandering the streets,” said Leeson, who fought in the Vietnam War.
He says the housing department has helped him find an apartment, and help him file to potentially get reimbursed for the time he was in prison.
“The VA has bent over backward everybody at the VA, and I owe them so much. Just not for what they did for me, and they’re helping me, but they help so many veterans that are lost,” said Leeson