Thursday, December 11, 2014

CCSO Deputies Help Homeless Veteran

Two Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies stepped up to help a fellow veteran in need this holiday season.

In recent days, deputies in the CCSO’s Immokalee District struggled with what to do with a longtime resident and Vietnam War veteran who suddenly found himself homeless and was living on the streets. The man was the subject of multiple 911 calls from the community for incidents ranging from trespassing to accidentally setting fire to a bus shelter bench.

Deputies evaluated whether the man was committing a crime that would allow the Sheriff’s Office to remove him from the streets.  They considered that if the man were to be incarcerated he would likely be released soon and back living on the streets.

With compassion and concern, Cpl. Charles Turner and Cpl. Kevin Hendry wanted to make sure the fellow veteran received the help that he needed. Cpl. Turner is retired from the Coast Guard, while Cpl. Hendry served in the National Guard, Army and Marine Corps.

“His situation was dire,” Cpl. Turner said, noting the man lacked sufficient clothing for the colder weather. “Something had to be done.”

“He needed a home; he needed help,” Cpl. Hendry agreed.

Both Cpl. Turner, an 18-year CCSO veteran, and Cpl. Hendry, a 14-year CCSO veteran, are graduates of the agency’s Crisis Intervention Training program, which teaches criminal justice professionals how to address situations involving persons with mental illness. Utilizing the skills he learned from the course as well as his community contacts, Cpl. Turner was able to get the man shelter and assistance through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Cpl. Hendry helped the man collect his personal belongings and drove him to a Salvation Army veterans outreach shelter in Fort Myers, where the staff was familiar with the man from previous contacts.

 “Many of us think about the sacrifices our veterans made for our country one day a year,” said Lt. Andrew Prisco, who supervises the CCSO substation in Immokalee, referring to Veterans Day. “Corporals Turner and Hendry have reminded us that we should think about them much more.”  

Sgt. Marcus Carter of the Immokalee substation echoed Lt. Prisco’s comments.

“These officers made it their priority to service others before self and take care of our military personnel,” Sgt. Carter said.
Cpl. Charles Turner
Cpl. Kevin Hendry