Operation Vanguard volunteers reflect on experience, continued need

Local

Doing this is an eye-opening experience.

Chris Switzer, Vigo Co. Councilman District 2

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The sixth year of Operation Vanguard has come and gone, but the donations are still coming in from the community.

“We’re a little over $18 thousand right now and we still have some funds out there that we’re expecting to come in,” said Reach Veteran Services Program Manager Noble Shaw.

The fundraising event centers around Reach Veteran Services, which provides aid to veterans in need in the Wabash Valley – aid made possible in part because of Operation Vanguard.

“Just recently, we had a household of six that we put up in a hotel for a brief period of time, if I didn’t have the money available, I’m gonna have to tell that household of six ‘hey, there’s no way we can help you,'” said Shaw.

Shaw says donations came in from all over the area, including across state lines in Illinois, and adds that an unused coat or suit jacket could make all the difference for a vet in need.

“To that veteran that might be a warm coat or a suitable change of clothes for them to go out and do a job interview in, and that may make the difference between getting a job and not getting a job,” said Shaw.

Vigo County District 2 Councilman Chris Switzer has participated in Operation Vanguard the past two years, and says it helped him understand how the less fortunate live.

“Our community is a very poor community and I know this event is about homeless veterans but there are also a lot of other homeless people out there and being able to see for a night what they could potentially be going through, it’s crazy,” said Switzer

Switzer adds that Operation Vanguard is a temporary event that can lead to permanent action.

“Having two kids and thinking at night that there are thousands of kids in Terre Haute and Vigo County that are probably going to bed without heat or hot water; it’s definitely something to think about and hopefully we can act soon,” said Switzer.

Shaw says he is looking for volunteers to help sort through the donations and if anyone is interested in helping out they can contact him at Reach Services.

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