Today, 71 years after the flag was raised on Iwo Jima, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department continues to honor and help our veterans—
While doing outreach in the San Bernardino/Highland area, the Sheriff’s HOPE team encountered an elderly man lying on a piece of cardboard in Perris Hill Park. Deputies Collins and Jones talked to the man and discovered that he was a combat Vietnam veteran who had been living on the streets for over a month. After contacting Veteran Affairs, deputies discovered that Jack had earned five medals of valor during his service in Vietnam.
Jack, explained that he did not know how to get off the streets, but was willing to do whatever was necessary to get into housing. The HOPE team explained the push to end veteran homelessness in San Bernardino County and that the team was willing to work with him and connect him with Veteran Affairs (VA) and Knowledge & Education For Your Success, Inc. (KEYS), in order to get him on the path to being housed.
Jack was very eager to get out of the park and agreed. He had an honorable discharge and a copy of his DD-214 was already at the VA. KEYS put Jack in a hotel for several days until he could be placed in a home of his own.
Deputies learned in speaking with Jack that he was the owner of Round Table Pizza in Redlands from 1977 to 2002. After closing his business in 2002, he went on to manage a Starbucks until 2010. His wife of many years passed away, and Jack “gave up” on life. He turned to drinking heavily and ended up on the streets. He did not want to bother or worry his two adult children and decided to live in the park, sleeping on a piece of cardboard with very minimal supplies.
Jack was extremely happy and appreciative of the assistance provided to him by HOPE, and repeatedly thanked and shook the team’s hands, with tears in his eyes. It was truly a pleasure to help a national hero get back on his feet and restore some dignity to his life.