WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Memorial Day just passed, and it’s observances like that which bring our veterans into the spotlight.
But when the day has passed, who is looking out for them? Who is fighting for those who fought for us when they need assistance?
It’s non-profits like Helping Heroes, which was founded by veterans and veterans’ supporters, for veterans in the Northern Panhandle.
With many of our heroes in need of their services in this area, they’re expanding rapidly, so 7News is bringing you a way to help with our annual Founder’s Day of Caring.
I never thought that men and women who served their country would ultimately for one reason or another end up on the street.Jeremy Harrison, Co-Founder, Helping Heroes
Growing up I saw the the guys in the American Legion and the parades on Memorial Day and the 4th of July. They were coal miners and steel workers and they were all very successful and it never occurred to me that there might be 50 or 100 homeless veterans in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia that just need help.R.J. Konkoleski, Executive Director, Helping Heroes
Sometimes those veterans feel more comfortable getting that assistance from someone else who served and understands their struggles. That’s where Helping Heroes steps in.
Seeing so many veterans coming home from combat with injuries and illness, the founders knew they had to intervene to keep others lives from falling apart.
Family issues, divorces, as a lot of people know suicide rates were high. Part of that was because veterans weren’t able to take care of their families anymore because of their injuries.Jeremy Harrison, Co-Founder, Helping Heroes
Since then Helping Heroes has grown from a small property in Moundsville to rapidly transforming the former Hillcrest location at OVMC.
They offer four major programs including supportive services for veteran families and referrals.
These are for veteran families that are potentially being evicted or behind on their rent or can’t make utility payments. We can help them temporarily, financially to get caught up.R.J. Konkoleski, Executive Director, Helping Heroes
Helping Heroes also recently opened an emergency shelter just for veterans. It’s available from 8:30 p.m. until 8:00 the following morning.
The non-profit also provides transitional housing to veterans who are not ready to live on their own just yet.
When you move into a new new home and you don’t have anything, there’s a lot of basic stuff and a lot of those things we have to purchase ourselves so once they move in they can live there and sustain themselves.Jeremy Harrison, Co-Founder, Helping Heroes
Which is why they rely on community donations to help veterans rebuild from having very little to leading full lives.
It’s really a place that veterans can come and get more specialized help and attention.R.J. Konkoleski, Executive Director, Helping Heroes
Helping Heroes tells 7News many of these veterans come to them with only what they can carry, so they have to stock the shelter and transitional housing.
WTRF is hosting a donation drive as part of Nexstar Broadcasting’s Founder’s Day of Caring on Thursday, June 17th.
You can drop off any of the following items at our studio at 96 16th Street in Wheeling. We will also be outside of the Riesbeck’s in Elm Grove.
- Cookware for microwave
- Electric skillet
- Plastic cutlery
- Disposable plates
- Disposable cups
- Paper towels
- Toilet paper
- Dish towels/cloths
- Dish soap
- Toaster/toaster oven
- Plastic wrap
- Gallon storage sandwich bags
- Garbage bags
- Contractor bags
- Non-perishable food items
- Gift Cards for Walmart, Kroger, Restaurants, etc. Places where veterans can buy food and necessities locally
- Tooth Brushes
- Shaving cream
- Q tips
- Feminine products
- White washcloths
- White towels
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Toilet bowl brush/holder
- Disinfectant wipes
- Twin size white sheets and pillow cases
- Floor cleaner
To learn more about Helping Heroes visit helpingheroesinc.org.
If you are a veteran in need, call 304-232-0114.