Former Marine helps fellow vets

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It's time to pay it forward and our target this Tuesday, a marine corps veteran who spent decades serving his country. Now, he's spends most days serving fellow vets. For them, he's part advocate, counselor, social worker, mentor and friend. A neighbor says he's always helping, always giving, so today she's giving him a three hundred dollar Act of Kindness.

These days Lawrence Davis puts his 27 years experience as a communications and logistics specialist to good use helping fellow vets find their way off the battlefield.

"Help them try to reintegrate back into society - try to help them navigate thru the system," he said. "Some are homeless, others don't have employment. I try to help them out best I can."

Davis works with several local aid organizations including the 100 plus member Band of Brothers and Sisters, a Vietnam veterans group.

"Vets helping vets. We gave 75 baskets during Christmas holiday to veterans struggling financially," Davis explained.

Davis also offers one on one food for the soul. "I've gone down that road, I understand them, I can relate to them. I am a diagnosed veteran with post traumatic stress."

"Sometimes granddaddy was a little depressed about being in the war, PTSD, he came over and talked to him about that," said Deirdre Jackson-Blair.

Deirdre says her grandfather, a World War Two vet, met Lawrence Davis at the V.A. Hospital.

"Mr. Lawrence said, 'I'm a neighbor and I can come around and visit you.' It meant a lot to him," she said. "They kept in real good contact with each other and he still keeps in contact with us."

Today Deirdre's reaching out.

SABRINA: "For this wonderfully giving vet, here is $100, $200, $300."
DEIRDRE: "I hope he doesn't cry because I know it's going to mean a lot to him, I really do."

On a recent rainy afternoon we found our way to the V.A. PR Director Darlene Edwards guided us through the long corridors of McGuire Medical Center. Up the elevator, down the stairs, more hallways and finally we reached the back of the sprawling cafeteria.

It still took Deirdre a few minutes to zero in on our target, but his reaction was worth the wait.

DEIRDRE: "I nominated you..."
DAVIS: "Oh my god...oh my god... (Applause)."

Deirdre couldn't even get the words out, but Davis got the message, so did everyone around us.

DEIRDRE: "And I want to hand you this $300 from Acts of Kindness 'cause I felt like you deserve it."
DAVIS: "Thank you so much. Thank you."

Davis explained that helping vets is his passion and his therapy.

"What I get is pure joy of being able to help other vets, I just love helping vets," he said.

And he wishes more people were joyful about giving back to a vet. Davis said, "Look out for them, appreciate them, say thank you when you see them and do what you can to support them." 

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