Since 2013 we have partnered with Veterans Making a Difference in Reading. On the second Sunday of each month, volunteers make 50 bag lunches (that’s 100 sandwiches!) that are picked up and distributed to homeless veterans in Berks County by the Graybills.
Doug Graybill started Veterans Making a Difference and works diligently with his wife Liz to make a difference in the lives of homeless veterans in the Reading area. St. Paul's loves helping Doug give hope to the Veterans in our community. St. Paul's makes monthly sack lunches and supports special needs that Doug brings to our attention to help the homeless Veterans to whom we all feel indebted. We treasure the relationship that we have with Doug as he extends the ministry of Christ in our community. Below are excerpts from a Reading Eagle interview:
Describe the work you do with veterans: "I started Veterans Making a Difference, in which I receive donations of food, clothing, shoes, blankets, sleeping bags and other items and provide them to veterans who need them. I help them request their military discharge papers, and am able to refer them to other agencies that may be able to help with other benefits, such as housing and medical care. I'm also a volunteer driver for the Berks County Department of Veterans Affairs and the Red Cross, and was commander of the Combined Veterans Council of Berks County."
Tell us about your military experience: "I enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17. I served 16 months in Vietnam as a tunnel rat, demolitions and point man. I also enlisted again in the Marines in 1982, serving until 1984. During that time I served two tours in Beirut, Lebanon, and took part in Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. I left the Marines as a sergeant."
Why he works helping veterans: "I am a veteran. My wife is a veteran. We understand veterans and speak the same language. We can relate. I have been homeless a few times so I am just giving back and paying forward to help others."
His proudest accomplishments from that work: "When they (veterans) say, 'Doug, you changed my life.' And when they are housed and receiving benefits. Also, one guy after nine months of me helping him said, 'Doug, I finally trust you.'"
What he likes to do besides helping veterans: "I like to go camping and I love attending church at Glad Tidings in West Lawn."