Reporting Derrick Blakley
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CHICAGO (CBS) — On the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, corporate volunteers joined veterans in a service project at a place that’s a haven for homeless vets.
As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, it’s a place called Hope Manor.
For James Alvin Gibson Jr., service to country came at great cost.
Gibson had already served six years in the Marines and more in the Army reserves. After the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Gibson couldn’t rest.
“I really felt like I had to do something,” he said.
So, he did, by serving in Afghanistan. However, when he returned to Chicago, he lost his job as a corrections paramedic and was homeless four months.
Then he found Hope Manor.
When asked what Hope Manor means to him, Gibson said, “The word is self-explanatory. It gave me a sense of hope.”
Hope Manor, at 3053 W. Franklin Blvd. in Chicago, is a haven for 80 veterans, who are housed in 50 modern, furnished apartments.
“This is transition for them; this is to help them find their way again,” said Dianne Griggs of Hope Manor.
Griggs is a seven-year Army vet herself, and that makes her work here more meaningful.
“A lot of people forget we’re out here,” she said.
On Tuesday, volunteers filled bags with toiletries and necessities for other homeless vets across the country.
A 9/11 mural is being painted across the street, at Manor School. Vets like John Anderson at Hope Manor are pitching in, too.
“They give to us, we still keep on giving back,” said Anderson, a Navy man.
The Veterans Administration estimates about 75,000 veterans are homeless each night.
And they could be joined by thousands more as troops return from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hope Manor alone has a waiting list of hundreds.
It’s still another toll of the 9/11 attacks.