NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – On Veterans Day, many communities take time to honor the men and women who served our country.
One group of volunteers in New York makes sure veterans have what they need all year long, reports CBS News’ Hilary Lane.
When Wayne Reese isn’t working his full-time job as a groundskeeper, he is volunteering his time, working hard to help veterans in need.
“Whether it be delivering furniture, going to hotels to pick up furniture, going to people’s homes who are donating furniture,” he said.
A volunteer with My Brother Vinny, Reese is a veteran himself and was first introduced to the non-profit when he was released from a VA hospital five years ago.
Even with a housing stipend, he couldn’t afford furniture for his new apartment.
My Brother Vinny supplied him with a bed and couch.
“For me, it was a life-changer, not sleeping on the floor, and sleeping on a bed,” said Reese. “That’s big.”
My Brother Vinny is run entirely by volunteers.
Founder and director Paula Miritello created the organization in honor of her brother Vincent, who passed away 19 years ago.
“When I go into someone’s home and I realize they are on the floor, and if we don’t give them a bed, that will be their circumstance,” said Miritello. “I can’t explain the joy I get. It’s a pure joy.”
Reese now helps the organization deliver furniture to other veterans, like Frank Johnson. He served in Vietnam and was living in an almost empty apartment in the Bronx.
“Does it feel like home now? Absolutely,” said Johnson. “I feel very comfortable.”
“When I started to volunteer and you see the joy that some of them get, it’s just an awesome experience and when you feel it,” said Reese. “You just want to keep going, it’s awesome.”
Reese says it’s always been his life’s mission: To serve our country and serve others.
My Brother Vinny has helped over 900 veterans in the New York area, and will hit the 1,000 mark early next year.
For more about My Brother Vinny, see the organization’s website at MyBrotherVinny.org.