Man Reaches Out To Young Veterans, Help Needed To House Vets

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By Catalina Trivino

 

Rose Hill War Zone may look like just a paintball site, but it's what they do behind the scenes that really makes a difference -- they give homeless veterans a family... and a place to call home.

One of the veterans helped is Ryan Melik.

It was June 2010, when his life changed. He and his army platoon were ambushed during a truck patrol in Afghanistan.

"All I remember is seeing a big dust cloud and my ears were ringing and I look down and I saw my elbow was bleeding very bad," Said Melik.

The explosion tore a piece of his elbow. He was then shot on the side. Melik says it was the last straw that caused his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. And after serving the army for nearly five years, he was discharged due to his PTSD.

At 22 years old, he was homeless.

Melik told us he would sleep from couch-to-couch. And when he didn't have one to sleep on...

"I would honestly walk around. Just make sure I didn't get jumped or robbed or just make sure I'm okay. Just keep walking... just burn energy until I got a phone call saying, 'hey man, you can come sleep on my couch.'"

About eight months later, 22-year army veteran, Gregg Holt, reached out to him using his "Helping Vets" program. Now, Melik has a place to eat, work and call home -- and it's all on Holt's paintball property: Rose Hill War Zone.

"These guys don't really have a major disability. Most of them are suffering from some stage of PTSD and some wounds that have been healed, but they're just in need of a home, in need of a family, need to know that somebody cares about them," Said Holt.

Now, Melik is one of 10 veterans that have walked through these doors in the last year. Together, [the veterans] manage and build the field.... and have someone to call a "family."

Holt says it's not money they need. It's love...

"It's our turn now to pay back these young men and young ladies that have done for us and given us our freedom. It's time for us to help them regain their freedom and their independence," Said Holt.

Holt says they're currently building a four bedroom addition to the property in order to house more veterans.

The money spent to play on the paintball field goes straight to helping these vets get back on their feet.

Holt says they're trying to match people together who will house veterans. If you'd like to help or need help, you can visit their website at helpingvets.info.

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