Trying to fit in after military service is hard for many veterans returning to civilian life. Many of them end to adapt to life after the military just fine, but there are a few that will end up in despair. In one report over 47,000 veterans were still homeless which accounts for about 10 percent of the people that are homeless in America. As a homeless person, they are often forgotten about. When they pass away no one cares. Except for one group of high school students is seeking to help change that.
Some groups help when a homeless veteran dies, but they cannot reach everyone. The group of students from New Mexico are all part of the woodworking class the builds urns and then donates them to people that need them. Normally when a homeless veteran dies they are buried in a rather informal way. The people that receive the urns for their loved ones are grateful to have such a gift in honor of their service.
Gino Perez is the shop teacher that leads the students and helps them make the urns. The students all agreed that the work that they do will be for this same cause. These students all come from different political backgrounds and cultures. But they all have one thing in common. They respect the men and women that have served their country with their lives. They all know that the veterans deserve more than they have been given.
The group that the high school students work with is the Forgotten Heroes Burial Program. They also work with Daniels Family Funeral Services and also the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services. Through all these groups the students are put in contact with those that need the urns. Each veteran that passes away has access to these urns. The final resting place is better than the box that many of them end up in when they pass away.
Each High School student is the perfect example of what is right with America. They have put themselves aside and found a need that they can meet for people in their communities. Their shop teacher has stated that “It’s the last bit of respect that a human being can receive. My goal was to teach [my students] that no matter what or who or how people view you, we can make a difference.” These students are learning that helping people less fortunate is better than being self-serving and overlooking those in need.
The teacher also stated that “I’ve never seen a group of students engages in a project like this. Even students that were down on the military for whatever reason — they’ve all got their politics — would say we’re doing a good thing.” One of the students has put his heart into his work and has stated that “I made my cuts as perfect as I could because I knew that my work would go to someone that will need it. Whoever this person was, they did something good in this country. That makes me feel special, so I should do something special for them.”
Not every student thinks this away about other people. But this group of awesome students has found a way to give back to those that have given so much to them. The students have been recognized for their service by the military and the students are enjoying every minute of it. Many of the community leaders have spoken and gave recognition to each one of the students.
Sheriff Gonzales has stated that “We came to this project with a purpose, and I’m proud of how it has all turned out. But it’s kind of overwhelming to see this kind of response to what we have done.” To sum everything up their teacher stated that “My dream and goal were to show these kids that they are valid members of the community who can do great things with their personal powers. They’re just blown away with how what they’ve done matters so much.” This is a defining moment for each student that they will take with them when they grow up.