Meet This Homeless Veteran

I’ve crossed paths with this man more than once. This man who labels himself HOMELESS VETERAN on cardboard. On a street corner. In wealthy suburbs.

I saw him 10 minutes south at the top of an exit last spring and summer. Week after week, he’d be at the same spot. I saw him in passing from one therapy visit to the next, always running short on time. Only once did I have something to give him. I found it curious that he always stood at the same place, and I always saw him at the same time. Every week.

Months passed without seeing this gentleman, but just three weeks ago I saw him north 10 minutes at the top of another exit.

Gathered around the table, I talked about this man. How curious it is that I continue to see him, how long it has been.

Last week I found him again in this northern suburb, now in the heart of the city just two blocks from a mom with a fur coat and daughter with a fur vest crossing the street into a mall. My car approached him at a corner. This time I had something. Gave him a bottle of water and a bag of Doritos out the window. They were the only tangible things I had to give.

Thought a bit.

Drove around, watched him at the stoplight.

Headed for Arby’s to buy a sandwich, then realized I might be able to provide something more lasting than Arby’s for this man that has been on the streets, HOMELESS VETERAN sign in hand for months.

Scratched down the name of my church, names of the pastors, the street name, service times. All praying he might discover something greater, some help, some hope.

In a matter of seconds as I passed in my car, I handed him this scratched on piece of paper, he looked down and seemed to read each word as important. I uttered “I have seen you many times,” asked if he would like prayer from my blog readers, if I could take his picture.

“YES,” he said.

Join me? Take an opportunity to pray for a man in need? A veteran in need? And pray that next time I respond the way God would have me?

I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Psalm 140:12


This post was written as part of the Five Minute Friday link up. I spend the last hour of Thursday chatting with a group of authentic and inspiring Five Minute Friday bloggers on Twitter (#FiveMinuteFriday #fmfparty). One minute past midnight EST Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker gives us a single word prompt and we all write a blog post centered around that word. We write for five minutes, and five minutes only. In the words of Lisa, this is “unscripted. unedited. real.” You meet me at this moment in time…my thoughts and opinions, my joys and sorrows, my dilemmas and dreams. And I receive one of the greatest gifts ever…a regular outlet for processing and expressing my thoughts without constantly editing myself. This is my life, my perspective, unfiltered.

The word of the week is OPPORTUNITY. 

  1. Sabrina says:

    Wow! What an amazing story. Not only did seize the opportunity to give and make a connection with this gentleman, you also gave your readers an opportunity to pray. I hope he connects with your church family and that it would be the beginning of a new chapter in his life.

  2. Monica Anderson Palmer says:

    Amy, as I sit in a tear stained face, I pray that I WILL walk in obedience to serve, to be Christ to the poor, the widows, the needy. Thank you for sharing! I love that the Lord is using you to be a conduit to show Himself to others!

  3. Kathleen O'Donnell Grone says:

    I will indeed pray for this precious child of God. My husbands a VietNam vet – he was actually on the streets for awhile himself before the Lord “grabbed him”… His testimony is amazing. I should share it sometime. This was beautiful.

  4. Becky Daye says:

    Thank you for sharing this post- and for taking the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ in this situation. I think we can get so focused on the HUGE problem of poverty and homelessness that we forget to do what is right in front of us and to be faithful to that! Thank you for setting an example and for listening to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Will be praying!

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