A soldier’s take on the homeless

By From page A5 | November 13, 2013


I’m a 36-year-old soldier in the United States Army currently serving in Afghanistan. I often miss my hometown of Diamond Springs and the many generations of family members that still reside locally.

To keep up with the times and feel a little closer to home I often find my way to the Mountain Democrat’s Website to read the paper. Thank you by the way for making it available for me to do so. What I wanted to comment on is the seemingly rising population of homeless in our area. It remains a major topic of discussion lately in nearly every paper I read. My question is are these homeless local citizens who have had a rough go of it recently, or are they transplants who have decided to seek refuge in the Placerville area? And if the latter is it because we as a community offer the best homeless living assistance that can be found in the area?

By word of mouth or advertisement many of these unfortunate people have heard of the generosity and shelter our town is willing to provide. I think we are headed down a dangerous and slippery slope if this is the case. I see what real poverty looks like on a daily basis while on missions here in Afghanistan. These people struggle everyday in conditions that are unimaginable, working however they can in order to feed their families and create some kind of normal life. Couple that with the oppression from violent thugs that call themselves the Taliban, who cultivate fear by distorting and perverting religious beliefs.

But still these proud and hard-working people hold their heads high and are always smiling even with seemingly so little to smile about. Maybe I’ve grown hard and cold because of my surroundings and what I have seen but I believe any Afghan who had the life of a homeless person in Placerville would not remain that way for long. Inside of a week they would be working four jobs and planting crops behind Jiffy Mart.

Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan

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