WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — On this Veterans Day, veterans will be honored, remembered and immortalized. Sadly, many will also be homeless.
One group, led by Whole Man Ministries Rev. Kenneth Holly, is looking to change that through a project called “Homes 4 Our Heroes.”
The last time we caught up with Rev. Holly, five homes on Cameron Avenue in Winston-Salem had been purchased with the goal of renovating them into new living spaces for homeless vets. Today, over 100 people showed up to help put the finishing touches on one of the homes.
“Just to see someone who actually risked their life and limb and give their life up for us — and some of them never make it back, some of them make it back with others problems psychologically — you know it means so much for me to contribute to their life in just this way,” said Holly.
The group, teamed up with multiple other organizations, has provided over 3,000 man hours towards renovating the homes. The project has been 98 percent volunteer-run.
Many of the volunteers are veterans themselves.
“Veterans Day? Well, it just means all the men and women that sacrificed every day so that we can be free,” said Terry Titus, who served in the Army in the 1970s. “You can’t give enough to a vet. Ever.”
Luke Makenzie, who finished his time with the Marines in June, served four tours overseas.
“I was with a border platoon for four years and then I was with a sniper platoon for four years,” he said. “It’s really nice being able to do something with my hands again, you know, not the same kind of work but something that’s really providing a service to people who need it.”
Makenzie says the men and women he served with quickly became his best friends and losing a member of his team was the hardest thing he had to endure during his time with the Corps.
“The bond you have with your team or your squad is like nothing you can experience anywhere else,” he said.
It’s that bond, forged on the field of duty, which Makenzie says the veterans who will call the Cameron Avenue houses home, will be able to enjoy.
“It’s easier for vets to talk to vets and be around other vets, to kind of ease their way back into things,” said Makenzie.
Holly says the home only needs some minor touch-ups, and power and it will be livable.
Four of the homes are duplexes and one of them will be a three-bedroom single-family home.