A veteran in Boothbay, Maine, is helping fellow veterans struggling with homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Ed Harmon, a service officer with the American Legion post in Boothbay, Maine, retrofits trailers into living spaces through a project he calls the Veterans Emergency Temporary Shelter, or VETS,” Fox 10 reported Friday.
The trailers serve as temporary housing for veterans looking for permanent homes and feature a one-room living space with a bed, microwave, and refrigerator.
“Now the vets are not going to freeze, and that’s the whole idea of it,” Harmon told reporters. “We’re keeping them alive.”
The nonprofit project started by Harmon, Arthur Richardson, and John Hargreaves has gained steam since its inception, according to the American Legion’s website.
“We knew the money would come when people saw we were real,” Harmon explained. “The prototype is one thing. But a lot of organizations, when they just getting off the ground, people wait to see what actually happens.”
“We have proven what we are. People see that what we do is for the vet. John … he knew. He said ‘this is gonna take off,’” the veteran added.
Currently, five trailers are available, and Harmon, who served in Vietnam, hopes to build 12 this year and 100 more in the future.
“We’re not doing it for money. We don’t make money. We don’t charge money. Our labor is 100 percent free,” Harmon noted.
“If we all pull together, all of us, we can help this world. We can help our people. We can help our vets. We can help other homeless people,” he said.
The units are available to veterans anywhere in Maine, and one traveled as far as Acadia National Park, which is more than 110 miles from Boothbay.
“He [the veteran] opened the door and he walked in, and he sat on the bed and said ‘I died and just went to heaven.’ It makes you feel pretty good,” Harmon concluded.