On a day set aside to remember veterans and honor their service, it's a sad fact many are facing serious medical problems. Fortunately, the VA Hospital here in Reno can provide that care. Unfortunately, thousands of those vets live far from Reno. For them, a daily commute or an expensive stay in the Truckee Meadows is out of the question.
As the story goes, two local men were leaving the VA Hospital one cold night and noticed someone sleeping in their vehicle in the parking lot. Investigating, they found a woman whose husband was fighting for his life in the intensive care unit. She was staying near him the only way she could afford, by living in her car.
Today thousands of veterans who rely on the VA hospital for their medical care and their families are grateful they did. For many of those vets, this is their primary source of health care, but for some it means a long drive from home or an expensive stay for them or their families. Billy Fassett and his wife live in a remote spot in the Sierra. For the past 5 and a half weeks he's been undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for cancer. A daily commute was out of the question. So was temporary housing in Reno
But Fassett didn't have to face that hard choice. He and his wife have been staying right across the street from the VA hospital at the Veterans Guest House. The 2 story purpose built house is a home away from home for veterans getting outpatient care or families of those in the hospital next door.
A steady stream of vets and their families stay here waiting out their treatment in a homelike atmosphere. For people facing a personal crisis and out of options It's an unexpected, but welcome refuge.
The Veterans Guest House is not part of the VA. It receives no government funding. It's a non profit organization supported entirely by donation. One other remarkable thing about it, as far as they know it's the only one of its kind and a model for similar efforts in other communities. There's certainly a need out there.