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Wounded Veterans Relief Fund: Palm Beach County group helps veterans in their hour of need

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Posted at 1:07 PM, Nov 11, 2019

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A local organization has made it a mission to stand in the gap between our most vulnerable veterans, and at times, poverty or homelessness. For 10 years, a grass-roots group called, ‘Wounded Veterans Relief Fund,’ has quietly picked up our Florida veterans at their most desperate hour and helped them get back on their feet.

This year alone, this one, single group has prevented 300 Florida veterans from becoming homeless—veterans who live right here among us like Demond Thomas.

“I was two days away from being homeless when Wounded Veterans Relief Fund stepped in and paid my first, last and security deposit for a rental, and it was just the help I needed at the perfect time,” said Thomas.

Thomas served our nation for years, including on the front lines in Iraq. He lost his leg in a car crash right after returning home and was about to be homeless before the organizers at WVRF heard about his case.

“To see the look on my daughter's eyes I mean I tried to hold it together for her because that would be my breaking moment if she didn’t think everything was going to be o.k., but with the assistance from Wounded Veterans Relief Fund, everything was ok. They were able to do something that I wasn’t able to do at that time in the midst of the storm i was going through—and they came through for me,” Thomas said. “It’s just what I needed. It’s all I needed, just that step, just that bridge from point A, to point B, and this program provided that.”

Wounded Veterans Relief Fund is a grassroots, bare-bones group run by retired military out of a Lake Park warehouse. Mike Durkee is the Executive Director and believes in running a fiscally sound organization.

“Our mission is to provide that temporary financial assistance to veterans that are facing evictions when they’re losing their cars to repossession when they don’t have utilities on, and emergencies as well,” Durkee explained. “But our biggest need, our biggest focus right now is homelessness prevention throughout the whole state of Florida.”

The statistics are staggering with one in five homeless Americans having served our nation through our branches of The Armed Forces. WVRF’S mission is to stem that growing number.

“If we can intervene and make sure the veteran does not become homeless,” said Durkee, “you’re saving yourself a ton of money and a lot of stress on the veterans families because if they become homeless then they lose all household item, they’ll lose everything, their job, and its just a downward spiral at that point.”

It’s a sad cycle that WVRF is attempting to stop. If you would like to donate to the grassroots organization, you can find their website at WVRF.org.