Volunteers deliver furniture to homes of Austin veterans


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalists J.P. HARRINGTON

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE


Posted on July 20, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 20 at 6:40 PM

AUSTIN, TX -- It's not the way most people spent their Saturday morning, but about two dozen volunteers were busy lifting furniture, loading it into moving trucks. 

"We all could be running around Town Lake or fishing somewhere but we're not," said City of Austin Veterans Officer Allen Bergeron.

Instead, they made deliveries to 15 veterans who were homeless but have qualified for housing through the VA and H.U.D.

"The way it works is they get these apartments and these apartments are completely empty," said Bergeron. "The last move we had a single mother with four kids and one grandchild that was sitting on the floor when we got there."

This time, the first stop is to the home of Robyn Mizell.

"They're doing a great service to American veterans. Veterans who have fallen on hard times," said Mizell.

The U.S. Air Force member has struggled with homelessness for more than three years. She says she was injured while serving and can't work. She's lived in her current home for about two months.

"I can scrounge things, you know, and pick up items from people that give away things, but when you don't have a vehicle, it makes it very difficult," added Mizell. 

So volunteers are took her a chest of drawers, kitchen utensils, a mattress and a box spring.

Sleeping on a hard floor is not fun," said Mizell. "So it's all a blessing."

The volunteers say each time they give to a family the experience is different, but they always walk away feeling like they've made a difference.

"Giving back always feels good. They've given everything they can for our country and for us. This is a small way of saying thank you," said The Home Depot Store Manager Josh Mayou, who volunteered. 

"They served their country and now it's our turn to serve them and help them out. Two words that should never go together is homeless and veteran," added Bergeron.

The city's furniture donations for veterans program started in 2012. Since that time about 60 once-homeless veterans have been helped. The program is part of the city's initiative to end homelessness among veterans by 2015.