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Traveling Across America for Its Disabled and Homeless Veterans
Updated: Friday, July 12 2013, 10:50 PM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) – If you see a white Jeep with permanent marker all over it, you’ve found Lisa Groves. She’s an Army Veteran who is driving across the country, letting people sign her car along the way. Her journey is to help and raise awareness for homeless veterans.
She has plenty of reasons to not worry about anyone but herself, and yet, she’s in Cedar Rapids, far from her West Virginia home.
“That’s not normal,” said Terry Rankin, a veteran who was once homeless.
The sacrifice of a cross-country crusade, to help disabled and homeless veterans wherever they might be. Groves plans to visit 49 states as well as Canada and Mexico.
“Right now, I’m doing it out of my own pocket,” said Groves. “I got a few donations, and people do give me donations and I put it back in the gas tank.”
What makes Groves effective with the veterans she helps is that she is one. She says she was raped while in the Army, and that was just the beginning of her nightmare.
After she left, “I went through domestic violence with a very abusive husband. Was homeless for six years with four children,” said Groves.
But when she was in shelters herself, she realized she felt better when she helped others.
So she never stopped.
She hands out clothes, food and books and even carries a printer to help vets and their families file the paper work to get the benefits they deserve.
“I’ve had veterans walk up to me and give me bullets in their hand,” said Groves. Those are the very bullets those vets almost ended their lives with.
Terry Rankin might not have those problems, but just like Lisa he was once a homeless vet.
“It’s a pleasure being around her,” said Rankin as he choked up.
Rankin told Groves today that she could stay the night in the shelter. Otherwise, she would likely be sleeping in her car, like she does most of the time. One other feature of the car is the Hero Bear. It’s a stuffed bear that anyone is allowed to hug. Groves says that most vets end up crying into it while telling her their story.
If you would like to donate to Groves' cause, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or send mail to PO Box 425, Institute, WV 25112.