Hero-Stories




David Brown is a veteran of Navy Fleet Marine Forces — the elite special forces. Here is the story of how he became homeless. On return to America from Vietnam, Brown served as director of a civilian property management company. 18 years later the Atlanta company sold and hiring managers said he was "overqualified." Soon after, Brown was jobless and his family homeless. Then came a referral to VEO family housing. We caught up with the 60-year-old to hear about the journey from homeless to safe housing and what he most looks forward to at VEO.

5 Questions for a Senior VEO Hero and Marine Veteran, David Brown

Q. What was your journey from homeless to VEO housing? 

On return from my service I was director of maintenance for an Atlanta property company. For 16 years I oversaw 68 properties. The owner died and the family sold the company. After that, I applied for dozens of jobs. Yet, employers said I was overqualified. Without income, we slept in cars. We stayed with relatives. A church gave us a refuge. I told my wife, ‘Girl stick with me. And, the Lord will deliver.’ A friend told us about VEO. And, VEO took it from there.

Q. Tell us about your service in the military?

I served in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia from 1969 to 1981 as part of the Fleet Marine Forces, a division of the Navy. I had to look after more than 300 people in my battalion. They got panicky real fast. We got six hours sleep at night. Our role was to get civilians in and out of what was the worst war zone in the world. My position was to get information from the wounded and communicate back to the coast base. I learned I was diabetic two years ago. I had gangrene on my foot. The VA removed my leg. It took me six months to get use to the prosthetic. The doctors said, ‘You will feel the ghost nerve pain for years.’ It still hits my nerves hard.


Q. How did you find Veteran’s Empowerment Organization (VEO)? 

I was at the VA clinic and they contacted VEO and found an open bed for me.

Q. What do you most look forward to?

I lost my brother, sister, uncle, and parents. My children and grandchildren are my pride and joy! They have a real happy life here at VEO. — at Veterans Empowerment Organization Of Georgia - VEO.

Q. How would you describe VEO to those who have never heard of the organization? 

The VEO staff cares a lot about me and my family. Mr. Frantz Fortune comes over to check on us. If I needed something he would help me. It’s real nice here.

The Browns are one of 31 families in the VEO Family Housing Program.