He Fought Like a Soldier

On Jan 15, OIM launches a NEW Innercity Veterans Outreach & Support Service (DETAILS BELOW).

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be sharing veteran and volunteer perspectives on the issues facing our homeless and at-risk veterans. 

Every Tuesday for the last several years, you could always count on Marcel to greet you at the drop-in. Walking in first thing in the morning (with a Tim Horton’s cup in hand, of course), he would make his way to his regular table, but not without first greeting each staff member and volunteer.

He had a special connection with two of our volunteers: Ken and Kirk, who are both veterans. You see, Marcel was a proud veteran himself – having served in the Canadian military for several years. But like so many other veterans, after leaving the military he felt lost. He struggled with alcoholism for years, which eventually led him to the streets. But Marcel was a strong man, who persevered. He fought to get off the alcohol and to reclaim his life. He got sober and got a small apartment. But even after surviving homelessness, his life was not easy. He struggled daily with depression and PTSD. But he fought. He fought like a soldier.

One Tuesday at the drop-in, Marcel did not show up to greet us. One of his friends brought us the news that he had died suddenly over the weekend due to a heart condition. There were tears shed, as friends comforted each other.

Although years have passed since his death, the OIM community is remembers Marcel. We remember his courage and his resilience.

We thank him for his service.

And we will miss him dearly.

Marcel at the drop-in

Marcel at the drop-in

 


If you are a homeless or at-risk veteran, or know someone who is, you are welcome to attend OIM’s,

INNERCITY VETERANS OUTREACH & SUPPORT 

Wednesdays, 10 to 11:30 am

OIM Office,  391 Gladstone Ave.

We offer a safe community and one-on-one support in a welcoming environment.

Available services:

Access to resources & literature

Access to phone & computer

Individualized support

Recreational activities

Refreshments & more

For more information:

Contact Rick at rick_oim@rogers.com or call our office at (613)237-6031

From One Veteran To Another: Homelessness Affects More Than “The Homeless”

On Jan 15, OIM launches a NEW Innercity Veterans Outreach & Support Service (DETAILS BELOW).

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be sharing veteran and volunteer perspectives on the issues facing our homeless and at-risk veterans. Today’s blog post comes from long-time OIM Volunteer and Retired Corporal, Ken Byars.

homelessveteran1500.pngA number of years ago I had traveled to visit a good friend and brother in arms who had served a number of years in the US military. We had grown quite close over the years and I thought the bond we had built was a strong one.

On a cold wet afternoon we were driving around reliving old times when we passed a homeless man panhandling in the rain. I made him circle back around so I could put some money in his can.

That’s when John dropped a bombshell on me.

A couple of years previous he had been homeless for over a year living in Veterans Shelters, and couch surfing. He had lost everything. He cut me to the bone, it was like someone had cut my heart out and we were both in tears. I looked at him and said “You know that whatever I have is yours; it isn’t much, but I would have done everything I could have to help you. I would have sold my bike if I had to.”

His answer was, “I know. That’s why I didn’t tell you; that and I was too ashamed to tell you I was living on the street.”

He hid it well, every time I called, we talked on his cell phone, he never let on he was in a shelter or sleeping on a bench. My brother, after 27 years of faithful service to his country, was reduced to living on the streets. It hurt me more to see the pain and shame in his eyes than the reasons for him not wanting to tell me.

Homelessness affects more than those on the street, it affects those that love them, and their extended families.

~Ken Byars, OIM Volunteer

 


If you are a homeless or at-risk veteran, or know someone who is, you are welcome to attend OIM’s,

INNERCITY VETERANS OUTREACH & SUPPORT 

Wednesdays, 10 to 11:30 am

OIM Office,  391 Gladstone Ave.

We offer a safe community and one-on-one support in a welcoming environment.

Available services:

Access to resources & literature

Access to phone & computer

Individualized support

Recreational activities

Refreshments & more

For more information:

Contact Rick at rick_oim@rogers.com or call our office at (613)237-6031