LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A local non-profit is working to combat the crisis of veterans in need in Indiana.
Right now the Mary T. Klinker Veterans Resource Center is serving 49 veterans, they say this is the highest number they've ever had. They held a fundraiser on Saturday where they raised $6,800 and they will continue fundraising as they work to find a building to purchase.
In Tippecanoe County, we have veteran resources through the Indiana Veterans Home, United Way, and other social services. But what about the veterans that don't meet the requirements for those services? Those are the ones Mary T. Klinker Veteran Resource Center is targeting first.
“We as a society and as a community in part are failing that veteran if we have failed to give them the resources that they need,” said Christina Howard, Chief Case Manager of Mary T. Klinker Veterans Resource Center.
Mary T. Klinker Veterans Resource Center leaders say the resources we have aren't enough. That's why a non-profit veteran's shelter may be the solution.
“Indiana Veterans Home, the majority of that is skilled nursing, they do have a small section that is kind of a transitional living program but there are very strict criteria on what veterans can go stay there,” said Howard. “There are too many veterans that do not fit those criteria, they're not checking those boxes and those are the veterans that are falling through the cracks.”
Howard and Mary T. Klinker Veterans Resource Center President Jim Logsdon are hoping to raise enough money to buy a shelter facility in Carroll County. They were looking into places in Tippecanoe County but things weren't working out.
“We haven't had much help from Tippecanoe County so we were asked that Carroll County if we would consider them helping us,” said Logsdon.
Logsdon said having the facility in Carroll County may actually be better. This facility will implement therapies and services similar to what you would find at Eagle's Healing Nest in Minnesota. Howard said those clients have seen success with programs available.
“They do equestrian therapy, they're doing music therapy, it is a system where veterans are being accountable to each other,” said Howard.
For Vietnam veteran Len Wilson, he said coming back to everyday life after the war can be jarring. He believes a shelter like this will benefit many veterans in the area.
“If you look at the statistics of what they do there, they self govern it,” said Wilson. “There's no alcohol, no fire-arms, no drugs allowed they self govern each other and that's what it takes peer pressure can heal so much. It can do damage, it can heal a lot,” said Wilson.
Right now in the United States around 22 veterans die by suicide every day. Wilson believes that 22 is way too high.
“22 a day is huge, that’s a lot of people,” said Wilson. “That’s a lot of hurt and we have to stop that.”
You can donate through writing a check to Mary T. Klinker Veterans Resource Center. You can also drop off monetary donations to their office at Lafayette Urban Ministry on 420 N 4th St, Lafayette, IN 47901.
You can keep up with the organization on Mary T. Klinker Veterans Resource Center's official Facebook page.