When I was a young girl there was a man who used to sit on the stone wall outside my church and feed the pigeons with scraps of stale bread given to him by a local store. His name slips my memory, but he was a vet. And he was homeless.

The man lived at the YMCA and my family sort of adopted him. We’d run to him when we saw him and would chat. We visited him on Christmas in his humble room and brought him gifts. We invited him to stand with us as we watched the holiday parade roll down the street.

The man really never talked about his time in the service, but we knew that it’d been rough. When he returned home, he found that his wife had left him and taken his kids with her. Even through all that he’d been through, he never stopped loving her and for some reason I reminded him of the woman who walked away.

I used to wear a black suede jacket and not only did the man think that it wasn’t warm enough but he didn’t think that black was a good color on me. So one year when we went to take him Christmas presents, he surprised us with a beautiful tan winter coat for me. I put it on and his face lit up. I can only imagine that he was transported back in time and envisioned for a second that I was the woman he’d lost. For that moment he was happy.

Time passed and I moved away. I don’t know what happened to the man and I regret not staying in touch. It makes me sad to think of all the men and women who’ve put their lives on the line for our country and who are now homeless.

It breaks my heart to know that there are so many men and women who’ve served our country yet live on the streets. They’ve seen things you and I will never comprehend only to come home to more cruelty than on the battlefield.

You might see someone on the street and think they’re a low life, but do you know their story? Do you turn up your nose at them or do you take a minute to say hello? Be kind to one another. It never ceases to amaze me how a little love can help and change a person.

My brother shared with me this video of a homeless vet who received a transformation that’s changed his life. I truly hope the man in this video not only feels better about himself but that he continues to get the help that he deserves. I hope that he understands that he does have value and worth and that there are people who care.