veterans projectBrittney Raby – Staff Writer

The Vietnam Veterans Association  has launched a “homeless backpack” program and has enlisted members of the Franklin Police Department, the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, the Highlands Police Department and the Highway Patrol to help distribute the packs to those in need in the community.

“It’s because of those that have served our country that give us the privilege of protecting and serving a free community in a free country and we accept these back packs in honor of each of you and thank you for your continued service to our great country,” said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland and Police Chief David Adams.

According to Adams, his officers have encountered homeless individuals in the community, several of which have been veterans. By having his officers carry the backpacks in their patrol cars, they will have a resource available to help.

“I think the backpacks are a great resource and will allow my officers to do a little more to help those in need,” said Chief Adams.

The packs contain some basic needs for  homeless individuals whom officers might come upon during their patrols. Statistics show that a large population of homeless people are individuals who served our country with distinction and because of some unfortunate circumstances and/or disabilities they have become homeless, with many choosing to remain homeless and refusing any assistance.

Over the next few weeks each patrol vehicle will be equipped with one of these donated back packs. The packs contain tooth brushes and toothpaste and other personal care items that might not otherwise be available to the homeless population in Macon County.

“This is a project that the Vietnam Veterans asked us to support and we are honored to do so,” said Sheriff Holland.

The project will be ongoing and the Vietnam Veterans Association plans to continue supplying local law enforcement with packs to distribute as needed.