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'The Landing' Helps Homeless, Disabled Vets - KOAM TV 7

'The Landing' Helps Homeless, Disabled Vets

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     When veterans return home, many are met with family and friends who are excited to see them again.
    But some, don't have that warm welcome, which can contribute to serious issues, like depression, and even homelessness.
    There's more than 400 homeless veterans in just Oklahoma, alone.
    Bernard Mitchell Gordon Senior, or  Mike as they call him, helps raise the American flag above The Landing, a facility for disabled and homeless veterans.        He's worked closely with Executive Director Cindy Bedford, who's been helping veterans at the facility since it opened in 2013.
    She says it's an honor to work with the veterans.
Bedford: "These folks sacrificed their life for us, and I believe truly deep in my heart that we need to get them back whatever we possibly can."
Mike was active in the military from 1961 to 1974. Serving in Vietnam. 
Gordon: "I came back at a time when people were spitting on guys that were in Vietnam, calling them murderers and baby rapers, and that didn't give me a feeling of, I didn't want to deal with other people."
    Even his children didn't understand but two eventually enlisted. 
Gordon: "They got out and then they called me and said 'Hey dad, we're really sorry for what you had to go through when you came home...and now we're proud that you spent the time over there that you did.".
But all his kids live in Washington state so he's thankful to live here with 11 other veterans in what used to be a motel. 
Mike deals with diabetes and has suffered heart attacks and strokes  that left him in a wheelchair and at one time evicted...
But through the efforts of The Landing, Mike's got a place to stay, a warm bed, and access to meals.  
 Gordon: "It's a good little place to be if you're so homeless that you don't have a place to go."
    The Landing is non-profit, leaving it with it's own battles to fight.
Bedford: "We're partially funded through HUD, and we've got to come up with, it's about $38,000, and we do that through fundraisers."
    Those fundraisers are essential to the services they provide, that keep Mike going.
Gordon: "I'm still alive, I'm still tickin', and...I'm not a Timex, but, I'm making it."

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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