LIBERTY, Ohio (WYTV) – You don’t have to be a veteran to help veterans. One man from Liberty and his wife have been helping out local veterans for years.
John Ely isn’t a veteran, but he is familiar with the needs of veterans. His father survived in Pearl Harbor and his brother suffers from PTSD from his service in Vietnam.
John and his wife Teri run the Veterans’ Outreach organization in Liberty. It started over 25 years ago when John took a trip to San Francisco.
“That’s where I experienced homelessness that was beyond my imagination. I didn’t even know it existed and I found out a lot of them were veterans that were homeless,” John said.
If a veteran needs clothes, they can turn to Veterans’ Outreach. Food, Veterans’ Outreach. Short on cash to cover utilities, you guessed it, Veterans’ Outreach.
They serve over 100 local veterans at their local facility each month, but their impact reaches much further than the Mahoning Valley.
“We’re registered in six states right now but we’re hoping it will be a lot more than that in the next 10 years, depending on our development,” John said.
It started with helping one veteran, then Teri helped to file the paperwork to set up their non-profit organization.
“So I see them come in and when they leave, they’re carrying large amounts of clothes or a big box of food and they’re getting the help they came here for and they’re smiling. We put up a case of the week on our website and Facebook, I don’t know if you saw that, but we highlight one case a week and there are so many rewarding things,” Teri said.
So the need for donations is greater than ever.
John’s right-hand man is “Mr. Bob.” He meets with everyone who walks into Veterans’ Outreach. It’s his job to educate each veteran on the benefits available to them.
“Most of them don’t know what all the resources are, but we have some that do know everything that’s out there and they help us refer them to other people,” said Bob Julian, service director.
Veterans’ Outreach always welcomes donations and volunteers.
To read more stories about local and national veterans, visit our Veterans Voices section on WYTV.com. Also, be sure to tune in for a special Veterans Voices segment this Veterans Day, Nov. 11 at 5:30 p.m. on 33 WYTV.