Price of Freedom: Homeless Veterans - One Man's Story
In Mayor Andy Berke's State of The City Address last month he set a goal to end chronic veteran homelessness in Chattanooga by the end of 2016.
During the speech Mayor Berke illustrated the need to end veteran homelessness in Chattanooga by telling the story of Vietnam Veteran Norman Williams.
Norman served in the Air Force in the early 1970's. He served in Vietnam refueling C-130's. Off and on over the last two years he's been on the streets in Chattanooga part of that time sleeping in a parking garage downtown.
"The hard concrete, sleeping on cardboard, you got your blanket, you know, it was hard," Norman told us. "Given my age it was rough you know."
Things are now beginning to turn around for Norman.
"They say good things come to those who wait," Norman said. "I'm blessed in so many ways."
Norman is one of a few dozen homeless vets who live on the streets of Chattanooga. After meeting Norman and other veterans it was clear to Mayor Berke more needed to be done.
"I met with a couple of different veterans and certainly talking to Norman you could hear in his voice both the good and the bad," Mayor Berke told us. "He understood his struggles, and where he needed to go. The thing that struck me the most was this idea of a veteran living in a parking garage in a city that is so rich with so many blessings."
Mayor Berke says in the coming weeks he'll announce a task force to study the scope of the problem, identify the factors, and what can be done about it.\
by Josh Roe
Thursday, May 8 2014, 10:11 AM EDT