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Central Oregonians rally to help Vietnam veteran in need

(Update: Adding video, details, interviews)

Sending motor home, food and clothes so he can live comfortably this winter

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregonians have always rallied to help others in the community, especially during a year in which many of us needed it most. Now, several local residents have taken it upon themselves to help someone they've never met: a Vietnam veteran who currently lives on the Oregon coast.

Jerald Green is no stranger to a struggle. He’s a 74-year-old Marine who served in Vietnam. However, Green’s current living situation in Winchester Bay presents him with new challenges.

"Well, it's not the best,” Green told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday. “I'm living in a little 23-foot 1982 Jamboree. All the appliances have failed."

The 44-year former Bend resident considers himself homeless, and now his only place for shelter, an RV, is falling apart.

Laura Jones, who lives in Bend and has a history of helping veterans, caught wind of Green's setup on social media and stepped in to help.

"He's been neglected and tossed to the side, living in a rundown motor home with no power, no way to cook, nothing,” Jones said. “It should break everybody's heart."

On Monday, Jones started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a working motor home. Central Oregon rose to the challenge.

In less than 24 hours, the community raised close to $3,000.

Jo and Wayne Worley, Bend residents for 22 years, own the motor home that will be given to Green. After 15 years of fond memories in their Winnebago Southwind, they feel Green needs it more than they do.

"I don't feel that we do enough for our veterans,” Jo Worley told NewsChannel 21. “As much as we can do, we should do -- all of us.”

She said they've left several appliances and tools inside for Green to use, such as plates, knives and cups. She even put flannel sheets and a heavy quilt on the bed, to make sure Green can stay warm.

Worley also noted this could not be happening at a better time.

"I'm so glad he's getting this before Christmas," she said.

Meanwhile, Heart’s of Prineville, a volunteer organization in Crook County, is collecting food and blankets to put into the motor home.

Early next week, a Bend Marine will load it onto a flatbed and take it to Green.

All of these people are putting together a collective effort for a man they've never met, or even spoken to.

Green, who said he's a man of few words, did not hold back when sharing what this means to him.

"What they've done for me is above and beyond anything I’ve ever thought about or hoped for in my life,” he said. “They have -- or will be -- turning my world around, where I wouldn't be in this mess as I have been for the past eight years."

Green also hopes his story can inspire other veterans to seek help, like he has, through Veterans of Foreign Wars -- and most importantly, to never give up.

If you would like to make a contribution by donating non-perishable foods or blankets, you can email Jones at laurajones@bendbroadband.com.

Bend / Central Oregon / Crook County / Deschutes County / Prineville / Top Stories / War-Military

Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.

Comments

7 Comments

  1. Simply being a veteran shouldn’t entitle anyone to any special treatment in my opinion. His poor life choices more than likely caused his current situation and not serving in Vietnam decades ago. Lots of vets from Vietnam have been successful and fully functional people. They take responsibility for their lives and move on. People looking for handouts who play the vet card do a dis-service to hard working vets in my opinion. I get that it makes people feel good to help out. I give people a hand up not a hand out. A guy is living on my property in his RV basically for free but he works around the house for it. Gives him some pride and it helps us both.

    1. What a cruel response. You have no idea what this man has been through, even if you are a vet. Each persons life experiences are different. Each persons response to trauma is different. He may have had multiple trauma’s in his life beyond serving. Please do not be insensitive towards others and read up on ACES https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/index.html and Trauma Informed Care https://traumainformedoregon.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/What-is-Trauma-Informed-Care.pdf and the concept of resiliency in Trauma Informed Care.

    2. Well, happy holidays to you too Ebenezer.

      Without knowing what “life choices” or circumstances led to his predicament, you’re pretty quick to judge. Seems to me this is a hand up. Or would you rather he do some gardening around your house to prove he’s worthy of anyone’s benevolence? And irregardless of his choices, no person should suffer cold or lack of necessities. How fortunate they weren’t counting on your generous donation to help the poor fellow.

      God bless you.

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