Homeless Veterans Tell of Service, Life on the Street

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/16214209/16214199" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript
John B. King, Jr.

John B. King, Jr., served in the U.S. Army in Criminal Investigations in Korea. Lee Hill, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lee Hill, NPR
Chuck Ebner

Chuck Ebner says he was homeless for five to six years. Will Wright, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Will Wright, NPR
Ronald Brisbon

Ronald Brisbon is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. Lee Hill, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lee Hill, NPR

In commemoration of Veterans Day, homeless veterans share their stories and how they are hoping to get off the streets. They also talk about their service to the country and what Veterans Day means to them.

Chuck Ebner "reluctantly" served in the Vietnam War. The formerly homeless veteran describes the five years he spent on the streets as "heartbreaking." Ebner says of Veterans Day and the war in Iraq, "I wish we never had to have another veteran."

Joe Williams served 16 years in the U.S. Army. Williams became homeless after being downsized by the Atlanta company he was working for. He later relocated to Washington. As for the holiday, Williams says, "Veterans Day is very important ... It is an honor to serve in the military."

John B. King, Jr., served in Korea and cites a professional career of more than 35 years in service to the federal government. He became homeless after losing his house in a domestic altercation. When asked to share his thoughts on what Veterans Day means to him, King says, "I want to sit down and cry ... what else can I do?"

Keith Michael Robinson served 12 years in the U.S. Navy and admits he likely suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. After battling substance abuse, Robinson says "an inability to grasp responsibilities" led him to a life on the street. The veteran admits to having been too proud to ask for help.

Ronald Brisbon is a Persian Gulf War veteran. After suffering a heart attack, Brisbon says he was no longer able to perform manual labor, which was required in his former job. He later lost his job and, as a result, his job-sponsored health benefits. Brisbon now spends his time researching benefits that might be available to him through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Written and produced for the Web by Lee Hill.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.