Local Iraq veteran raises money for homeless vets
Posted at: 07/04/2012 10:13 PM
| Updated at: 07/05/2012 9:01 AM
By: Joangel Concepcion | WHEC.com
A local East High graduate drove all the way to New York City to buy 1,200 flags to help raise money for his business.
He says many veterans feel forgotten and lost when they return home from war and he was determined to do something about it and what better time to do it than on the Fourth of July.
Antenehe Demissie, 24, did two tours of duty in Iraq. The East High grad says he has seen first hand how difficult it can be to return from the front lines.
“There's no reason why in America there should be homeless veterans. There should be no reason that they are here. Thank God I came back mentally and physically well but a lot to the left and to the right of me a lot of people weren't. I've seen my brothers and my brothers in arms not come back.”
So he decided to something about it. He started a business called Front Lines to the Front Office. It was created to help homeless veterans and those who suffer from post traumatic stress or PTSD.
But then -- he was stopped in his tracks. "When I went to the bank for the business loan, which is called the Patriot Express Loan guaranteed by the government, they turned me down for the loan.”
But that didn't stop Demissie. He decided to take matters into his own hands. And all it took was a box of flags, a couple of friends and a little inspiration.
“Our main goal is bit incentive but initiative. If a lot of people live by that goal, this world would be a better place.”
Demissie took it a step further tonight in honor of veterans through out the nation. The Rhino's game stopped at the 50-minute mark each second representing each state -- a moment Demissie hopes can inspire others to remember those who served.
He asked fans to wave their flags in honor of America's returning heroes.
“I just want to be the person to see the problem solved and not just talk about it.”
This 24-year-old veteran will also be teaching a military course at MCC this September it’s designed to teach veterans to start their own business -- something he tried to do when he returned from war. Hopefully he can raise enough money to keep his own business going.
He sold over 200 flags Wednesday -- the Fourth of July -- and at $5 a pop, he seems to be well on his way. He says this is one of many events he will have to raise money and he won’t stop until he can continue his business for homeless veterans.