An organization whose mission is to “end the epidemic of veteran suicide” hosted an outreach event for homeless veterans Wednesday morning in Leavenworth.
Members of Team Fidelis held one of its Boots on the Ground events in the parking lot of the Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope.
Team members distributed literature, water, T-shirts and personal hygiene kits to homeless veterans. They also offered homeless veterans a free haircut, courtesy of Carlos Rivera of Str8 Edge Barber Shop in Lansing.
Leatrice Burns, a 23-year Army veteran, stopped by the Team Fidelis tent. Burns, who volunteers once a week at the Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope, wanted to find out what was going on.
She visited with the Team Fidelis members and talked about her career in the military in the medical field from 1970-1992.
Once learning of her military service, team members issued her a commemoration certificate of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War as well as a challenge coin from the Kansas City Veterans Center.
“We also told her, ‘welcome home,’” said Daniel Brazzell, founder of Team Fidelis. “Vietnam veterans still need to hear that.”
“This is wonderful,” she said. “I have never gotten anything before.”
Brazzell said the organization seeks to locate homeless veterans and “get them housed and off the streets.”
He said the organization conducts outreach events once each month. He said this is the first time the group has been to Leavenworth, but he plans to bring another Boots on the Ground event to Leavenworth again next month.
“Our goal is to end the epidemic of veteran suicide,” Brazzell said.
He said there are approximately 20 veteran suicides every day, and of those 20, 14 veterans were not accessing VA health care and were homeless.