A milestone was reached last week when Operation Texas, the longhorn branch of the nonprofit program Veterans Matter, housed its 300th homeless veteran. Launched in the late summer of 2012 after Dusty Hill, bassist for ZZ Top, decided to get his hometown heroes in Houston off the streets following his recording of a video PSA for the program, Operation Texas has housed an average of two veterans a week. The chapter’s milestone accounts for nearly 53% of the Veterans Matter total number of 567 veterans housed, and is the fastest-growing of Veterans Matter’s 7 operation chapters.
Much of that growth has to do with the commitment of Operation Texas’s board to keeping the funding of the branch alive. Soon after Dusty Hill and his wife Chuck initiated the operation, they were joined by Kevin Maley, (thanks to Veterans Matter board member Gary Fruchtman) owner of KO Supply who started bringing his friends together: Dave and Sheri Henderson, Kathy Walton, Steve and Maybeth Gilbert, Buddy Johnson, Mark LaCour . With just a handful of phone calls, they raised over $55,000 to get the first 75 veterans housed within a month. Now they have collectively donated enough to housed 300. Wow! True Texas, and American Heroes!
That momentum continues today. One of the most significant things to remember about this process is that the HUD-VASH vouchers for which Veterans Matter provides the deposits also ensures housing for the veterans’ spouses and children. That means the 300 veterans Operation Texas has housed actually represents 469 people, once the 36 spouses and 132 children of those veterans are included!
Our hats – cowboy, ten-gallon, pork pie (Ken’s favorite) or otherwise – are off to the amazing team that keeps Operation Texas going and changing the lives of our service men and women and their families. Thank you for your commitment to take care of our own!
If you are in Texas we are in urgent need for funds for Dallas and Austin. For more information check out the Operation Texas page: veteransmatter.org/texas