Homeless veteran in Columbus shares challenges he faces during the holidays

Local Veteran speaks on life's challenges

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The holidays can be a time of joy for some and painful for others.

A homeless veteran in Columbus spoke about some of the challenges he faces during the holidays.

“I don’t wish this life on nobody,” he said.

Allen Swann served in the U.S. Army for 12 years. Four years ago, an ambush while serving left him in a coma for six months. He still has the scars, aches, and pains to prove it.

“Open wound here, a graze here, a graze, and a graze wound here. Went straight through my chest. All this right here, plastic,” said Swann.

He spent half a year recovering from his coma and injuries and his road to recovery stopped here in Columbus in 2015. Since living here, he’s had a hard time getting help from the V.A. and remains homeless. He said it’s especially difficult during the holidays. That’s when a deep depression sets in. He said

“You get all away from your personality and the person that you are because you’re fighting these demons. You’re fighting these demons day by day to stay up above water,” Swann said.

It’s also lonely because he has no family. His mother, brother, and father were the only family he had before they passed away.

"As far as being with family on holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas or whatever, it’s hard too. It’s hard to take. But that’s something I give to God,” said Swann.

His living conditions get harder as it gets colder outside. He usually sleeps near the bridge by the river. Other times, he sleeps at shelters that have open rooms.

“But that’s just through the cold cold nights. But after two or three days after it’s warmed up, folks back out here on the streets. I mean people need help,” he said.

Swann is a diabetic and can’t afford his insulin. What he’d like this holiday season is to be able to treat his diabetes and get assistance from the V.A.

“If I could just get some medication. I’m not worried about nothing to eat every day. But if I could take my medication every day, I’m alright,” Swann said.

He wants people to know that most homeless people aren’t looking for a handout, just a hand up.

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