Navy Vet Lived in the Woods for 11 Years, Finally Finds Warm Home Thanks to Local Organization

June 11, 2019 Updated: June 11, 2019

Veterans who served their country honorably are understandably proud people. Upon returning home, sadly, they are often the ones who fall through the cracks, with many ending up homeless.

Many are too proud either to accept or seek out a handout from a helping hand even when it’s offered. Navy veteran John DeGraff, hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, is one such vet who preferred to rough it in the woods and be self-sufficient for 11 years than face the alternative.

John had located himself an out-of-the-way wooded area in the city and erected a rugged shelter made out of tarps and branches. A makeshift firepit heated the abode inside, over which he cooked his food. The setup could have easily burned down with John still inside had there been an accident. Out in the cold woods, this is how John lived for many years.

Bob Ward Boston 25 发布于 2019年2月10日周日

Bob Ward Boston 25 发布于 2019年2月10日周日

Not everyone was so content as to allow John to continue this way, however; there are good souls among us who believe deeply in taking care of those who serve their country. One such good soul, named Mike McNulty, founded an organization called Disabled & Limbless Veterans. The group is dedicated to serving needy veterans and their families, providing meals, clothing, and places to live.

“A lot of these guys don’t want to go to the shelters,” Mike had told local news agency WFXT. He had invited one of their reporters, Bob Ward, out to pay John a visit to show him how some forgotten veterans lived. “There isn’t a veteran who should be living under these conditions. These are guys who fought for their country. Why are they in a situation like this?” McNulty continued.

The organization’s president, Dom Marcellino, adds, “We still see people fall through the cracks, just for the fact that they are stubborn, they are self-sufficient. They are proud and they won’t put their hand out for anything.” According to Marcellino, there are over 200 veterans in the same situation as John in Massachusetts alone.

Homeless veterans in the woods of Mass.

They put their lives on the line for our country and now they disappear in the shadows. Here's the story of one veteran who has lived in the woods of Massachusetts for 11 years. boston25.com/2DXDxPm

Boston 25 News 发布于 2019年2月8日周五

They had been trying to get John out of the woods and into the system. They often brought him food and had been seeking a more permanent residence for him.

When he saw the reality on the ground, it really made an impression on Ward. After taking photos of John’s situation, he posted them on Facebook.

“This was easily one of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen,” he wrote. “Just got off the phone with Disabled and Limbless Vets, the group working with John, the group that reached out to me for help.

“John is now in Transitional Housing. They told me he cried when he said, ‘This is a new beginning for me,’” added Ward. “There is still good in this world.”

Bob Ward Boston 25 发布于 2019年2月10日周日

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