This week on the Wild Side, David Clyde chatted with Gonzalo Duran. CEO and founder of Devil Dog Incorporated, a veteran's assistance organization based in Bronx, NY.
Gonzalo rescued a house from foreclosure and developed it into a beautiful transition home for veterans or soldiers coming home with no were to stay.
A proud Marine, Sergeant and decorated combat veteran, Gonzalo described his own difficulty transitioning from military to civilian life. While serving in Iraq, his father Vicente suffered a heart attack and spent the next two year bedridden before passing in 2010.
In 2011, he found himself homeless, living in shelters, and occasionally with his mother. Eventually, he broke through using his military pay, and got an apartment with the assistance from non-profits and veterans affairs.
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His organization is for marines, soldier, sailors, and airmen returning home from combat and military service. They help solve the questions: "Can I get an education? a job? a place to live?"
The system is there, but navigating it while transitioning to civilian life can be difficult. Most of the funds come from Gonzalo himself so it is not a big corporation, just something small to be there and help.
Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North shares in Gonzalo's mission. Lt. Colonel North noted the serious disconnection between veterans and the rest of America, "When the 16.5 million veterans came back from World War 11, they came back to a society that supported them 100 percent and provided them with the education and housing assistance they needed. Then anyone under the age of 10 knew someone who was serving.
They have wonderful recreations that they do like getting used golf clubs and asking someone who know how to golf and just to take them out and teach some of the vets that don't know how and have a good time, also are scuba diving, white water rafting, just everyday activities to ease them back into civilian life and to just feel good about themselves so they can get back on their feet. They are big supporters in education to get the right training to find jobs.