Two Walkerton musicians raise $2,000 to help homeless veterans

WALKERTON – Tom Traversy and Pat McNinch, two local musicians with military connections, have raised $2,000 to date for the Homes for Heroes Foundation.

They visited the Herald-Times’ office the week after New Year’s, prior to sending off the cheque to the charity.

The plight of thousands of veterans living on the streets of this country touched the hearts of the two.

They had written a song that garnered a fair bit of attention in the area (“Homeless Soldier” can be heard on YouTube), and not quite a year ago, decided to use it to raise funds for the cause of homeless veterans. With the generous assistance of Steve Cuneo, they recorded a CD with two original songs – “The Message” and “Homeless Soldier” plus two covers of songs on the same subject, and went ahead with their project.

In an earlier interview, McNinch said that one person had told him, “The way we treat our veterans is disgusting… ‘Homeless Soldier’ brings it to reality.”

Traversy said, “People ask what Homes for Heroes is. It’s a process of education… there is a need.”

The Homes for Heroes Foundation website states that as many as 5,000 veterans are homeless and living on the streets of Canada. According to the website, “These veterans put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and now they need, and deserve, our support.”

The Calgary-based foundation strives to help veterans facing homelessness by building tiny home villages where they will be with others like themselves. These villages provide residents with a bit of “breathing space” while they embark on the path to stability and self-sufficiency. At present, there are three such villages, located in Calgary, Edmonton and Kingston.

In addition to being provided with self-contained, comfortable homes, partner social agencies and Veterans Affairs will work with tenants. Some will require support for PTSD or rehabilitation. When a veteran is ready for employment, there’ll be help with that.

But those efforts take money, and that’s why Traversy and McNinch plan to continue their project.

For information on how to get a copy of the CD or to get it online, visit www.pjmack.com, or contact the Walkerton Herald-Times at 519-881-1600.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times