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Veterans Camp Out In Icy Weather To Raise Awareness Of Homelessness

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A group of military veterans who are now students at Columbia College camped out for 24 hours to raise awareness of homelessness among veterans. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya)

A group of military veterans who are now students at Columbia College camped out for 24 hours to raise awareness of homelessness among veterans. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya)

CHICAGO (CBS) – A hearty and determined band of college students who are military veterans camped for 24 hours in these frigid temperatures to raise money and awareness about the problem of homelessness among veterans.

The Columbia College student veterans said it was worth enduring a full day and night of single digit and below zero wind chills.

“Veterans are more at risk of becoming homeless than the average citizen,” said Marine Matt Patruno, who is majoring in arts and entertainment management.

College student and Army veteran Brennan McGiffin said he still has friends in the service, and “at some point they’re going to get out, and I don’t want to see my friends out on the streets, suffering.”

Their sleep out from noon Monday to noon Tuesday was an effort to collect donations for the Eddie Beard Vet House, which provides temporary housing for honorably discharged veterans.

Homeless veteran Daishaun Washington, who has lived at Eddie Beard Vet House since the summer, joined the college students at the corner of 11th and Wabash.

Washington said it was a “wonderful thing” his fellow vets were doing and that he was “glad to be a part of it so (he) could help out fellow veterans myself.

When student and Marine veteran Eric LaCour arrived to camp out yesterday he was surprised to come across Washington. They served together, and were deployed together in 2009.

LaCour said it was “quite telling the somebody that I served with is actually now homeless.”

Want to donate? Go to: firstgiving.com/fundraiser/24hrsleepout.

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