Annual event geared toward helping homeless vets is this weekend - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Annual event geared toward helping homeless vets is this weekend

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

An annual event gearedtoward helping homeless vets is just days away. It's called Stand Down,and is geared to help homeless veterans get their lives back on track.

News Leader 9 met with aformer homeless veteran who changed his life through this program and now he'sreaching back to help others.

"I'm hard headed…Learningnot to do that which was right. The stories I could tell would not be very nice.The avenues of life that I've ventured down through, I had plenty of companyand they were hard headed too."

Donald Killins recites apoem he wrote called "Hard Headed". He joined the Navy in 1974,fought in Vietnam, and traveled the world; he's also slept on the street.

"When you don't haveanywhere else to go, but you think that, there are other places you can go, todo the things I was doing I couldn't go there," said Killins.

After losing his mother ina brutal murder, Mr. Killins says his life went into a downward spiral. "A young man beat mymother to death with a hammer; in her own place. All the anger that I hadtowards him and the [inability to forgive] I had in my heart, it was trulytearing me up," said Killins.

He started doing drugs,anything he could get his hands on. After staying at the House of Mercy for amonth or two, he slipped back into his old ways.

"I started listeningto the voices that shouldn't have been listening to and I ended up being rightover here the very place that I call myself running from, I ran right to it,"Killians said.

His party was about toend. One day while hanging out on 3rd Avenue, he was handed abusiness card from the 'Stand Down' organization. He didn't call the number formonths but now, he thanks God he did.

"It feels wonderful,not to be bound. To be able to say no to some things that had me caught up forso long. It just feels so good," said Killins.

It also helps him realizehow good he has it compared to sleeping on cold dirty floors of an abandonedhome. For more than ten years he jumped from job to job, sleeping on thestreet, and even in abandoned homes on 2nd Avenue.

"All that doesn'tmatter because you're focus is not on the comfort of where you're at, it's onthe product that you have. All those things really don't come into effect untilthe party was over," said Killins.

Now Killins is dedicatinghis life to helping other veterans like him. This Saturday at the TradeCenter from 4-8 pm, Stand Down is helping any veteran, no matter theirsituation, get back on their feet.

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