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Veteran Stories: Wall Street traders serve homeless vets in their off time

Homeless Army veteran Raymond Bell speaks to a reporter at Shelter for the Homeless in Stamford on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Bell has been homeless since 2008. Photo: Jason Rearick

Securities traders--some veterans--serve homeless Veterans in their spare time

Pick up please liked this story of homeless veterans being helped by financial traders--including a military graduates--in their off time. 

Mike Boyd, a Naval Academy graduate, is cheif compliance officer for Academy Securities. He and co-workers work at a Stamford Homeless Shelter in hopes of raising both awareness and money to aid veterans in their job searches. They also hope to help Veterans attain financial stability. 

"We're here today as part of outreach and because there is an issue with homeless veterans that's going to become worse as more veterans return," stated Boyd at Stamford's Shelter for the Homeless on Pacific Street.

Academy Securities is owned by a disbled Vet, and Boyd and his co-workers regularly help cook and serve meals to about 60 homeless people at a time, many of whom are veterans. 

62-year-old Vietnam Veteran Raymond Bell is one of the people they serve. A recovering alcoholic, Bell emphasizes that he avoids asking for help from family and friends, as he feels that Army vets should be self-sufficient. He's been at the shelter since September, and partly through his newly accessed social security, he hopes to get an apartment soon.

Of the shelter, Boyd says, "This place is a God sent [sic]. It's very good to be here on a cold night, because I slept under a bridge for three years."

Read more here.

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WWII Gunnery Instructor visits Bomber for First time since 1945

World War II veteran Rudolph Phillips, on board a B-17 bomber for the first time since the war. Philips describes his flight as a "trip back in time." Photo by Curtis Compton, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

WWII Veteran rides a B-17

We at Pick Up Please loved the story of a 91-year old Veteran who got to board a bomber for the first time since the World War II. For those of us who haven't served, it's impossible to understand the intensity of emotion and memories Veterans carry.

On March 1st, 91-year-old WWII veteran Rudolph Phillips got to board a B-17 bomber for the first time since 1945. The restored "flying fortress" bomber was used in the 1990 film "Memphis Belle." Phillips and the B-17 took a 15 minute flight over Atlanta, Georgia.  

Phillips, now a resident of Woodstock, says the experience was “a trip back in time.” Once airborne, the veteran unlatched his seatbelt and rested his hands on a machine gun. A former gunnery instructor, he'd spent years in the war training young soldiers how to fire that same kind of .50-caliber gun to blow enemy planes out of the sky. Phillips himself never dropped a bomb or fired at an advancing German fighter plane, but he describes his training job as grim, sending such young people into harm's way.

Every time he's seen a plane since the war, Phillips says he's thought of the men and women who didn't make it home.

Read about Phillips' flight here.

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POP Pendant Light Shows Art and Recyling Merge

Upcycling demonstrated: The POP pendant light by artist Mauricio Affonso shows how creativity and recycling can merge, beautifully. Photo: Submission for Langley Advance.

The Upcycling Design Challenge

Of course Pick Up Please wants to help Veterans. But we're helping donators and thrift shoppers, too: you get a chance to donate and thus purge your home of excess items, and the community around you can turn your donated goods into treasured items. You really never know how happy your discarded items might make someone.

Take the Townshp of Langley, Canada, which recently announced an Upcycling Design Challenge. The trend to "upcycle" as a means of recycling has grown in popularity over the years. The idea is to creatively turn what could be considered trash into something beautiful.

Langley's Upcycling Design Challenge asks that all submissions are made of at least 75% recycled materials. Explains event organizer Krista Daniszewski, "Candy wrappers can be turned into a purse, old glass bottles may make a funky chandelier--the options are limited only by your own creativity."

Assuming you don't know an upcycling artist seeking materials, you probably shouldn't save your old candy wrappers for donation. But if the people of Langley are using tossed wrappers to create beauty, you can bet there are people around you who'll turn your old sweater into a pillow or bend excess flatware into jewelry. 

Donate your goods to help yourself, your community, the earth, and--if you use Pick Up Please--Veterans!

Read about Langley's Upcycling Design Challege here

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  1. Veterans Stories: 89-year-old Veteran Defeats his Lifelong Foe--Illiteracy

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