WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — As we honor our veterans on Veterans Day, 7 Action News is taking a look at resources available to help them thrive.
There are many organizations across metro Detroit that aim to help veterans. In Wayne County alone, there are upwards of 83,000 vets, and there are many services available to help make veterans whole.
- The history of Veterans Day goes back to World War I
- Free meals and deals on Veterans Day for current and former service members
"Aw man, without the VA, I would probably be in the streets homeless again," said Navy veteran Zachery Johnson. "Out there still on drugs and alcohol."
Zachary Johnson says he's about celebrate 11 years of sobriety. The navy veteran says he has Wayne County veteran services to thank. It introduced him to AA, the VA, and the Veterans center, where he lived while homeless in 2010.
More recently, having a tough time making ends meet during the pandemic, the 66-year-old says the VA trust fund paid his rent for six months and DTE paid his electricity.
"Through the grace of God, they provided me with a lot of help," said Johnson.
Major Kwesi Betserai says Wayne County veteran services aims to provide immediate financial relief to honorably discharged veterans, like Johnson, who live in the county.
"And so we're set up to help those veterans receive rent payments, mortgage payments, car payments, car repairs," said Wayne Co. Veteran Services Division Director and Ret. Major Kwesi Betserai.
Food, furniture, burial expenses – the list goes on.
"Contrary to what you may hear, that the veterans don't get quality care," said Ret. Major Betserai. "There is quality care available, and what I found is there is a disconnect. Right? Veterans don't know how to apply for them. Because some of the language is a bit much and a lot of time the veterans don't have all of their documents in one place."
And he says there are also services to help bridge that gap.
"Just ask for help. Just ask," said Johnson. "You don't have to be alone. You don't have to be alone as a veteran."
If you or someone you know is interested, you can call 1-833-WAY-VETS or click here for more resources.