A former homeless veteran is keeping his oath to never leave a man behind.
Kevin Nordhagen, who served in the Army for nine years and was deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan, started a program in June called Help Vet 1, which aims to help meet the needs for local homeless veterans.
Having been homeless for nearly a year, Nordhagen says he saw the struggles veterans face firsthand. He wants to make sure former soldiers know where to get their VA benefits, help them get jobs, find housing vouchers.
“Just here in Omaha, which is a nice-sized city, we have 2,000 homeless. And one in four homeless people, are typically a veteran,” says Nordhagen.
Nordhagen says he was able to get back on his feet thanks to the support of his family, a support he says not many veterans have.
"I have a lot of veterans out there who don't have families, or they're an older generation and their families are gone, so that's where they need that other resource to depend on, to get them in, get them into the shelters, get them cleaned up, get them taken care of, and get them to be productive like they were in the military,” says Nordhagen.
Nordhagen has now made it his mission to decrease veteran homelessness in Omaha and help veterans transition out of the military and secure jobs and housing.
"I took many oaths when I was in the military and the creeds were that I'll never leave someone fallen behind and I will never be defeated, so I still apply that now, because no one gets left behind,” says Nordhagen.
His goal is to not only get vets fed through the food drives he hosts every Sunday at the Siena Francis House, but with the help of other organizations, help vets find housing and furniture.