GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent County Veterans Services wants to light the county green.
From Nov. 6 to Nov. 12, the community is encouraged to turn their outdoor lighting or buildings green for Operation Green Light, an initiative designed to draw awareness to the resources Kent County Veterans Services has to offer.
“Maybe they’re close to being evicted or maybe they need groceries. Those are things that we can help with that can be life-changing,” community outreach specialist Rachel Wustman said.
That’s what Reginald Farrior experienced. Originally from Pittsburgh, he served with the U.S. Army from 2012 to 2018.
“I was able to go to Afghanistan. I medically separated from the military, came out of the service with a service connection,” Farrior said.
After he got out, he came to Grand Rapids to be near family. His transition to civilian life did not go smoothly.
“When I moved to this county, I actually ended up becoming homeless during some time,” he said.
He started to see things change after connecting with Kent County Veterans Services. The office linked him to help that got him back on track and offered him a sense of community.
“I felt like they cared for me. I felt like they were listening to me. I felt I wasn’t being judged,” Farrior said.
He’s now an accredited county veterans service officer.
“There’s just nothing that can describe where you’re able to help somebody get where they deserve to be, but they don’t even know how to get there and they’re not even sure of what they need,” Farrior said.
There are around 40,000 veterans in Kent County. Veterans Services says many have slipped through the cracks.
“I don’t think we’re servicing even half of them,” Wustman said. “There are veterans that maybe haven’t heard of us yet.”
You can pick up a free green light bulb at the Kent County Veterans Services office on Fuller Avenue NE at Bradford Street.