The Cortez Elks recently won approval from the national Elks organization for a $2,000 grant to help local veterans get back on their feet.
Listening to a speech in Colorado Springs by Richard Sandrock, who works on veterans issues for Gov. John W. Hickenlooper and is a veteran himself, the Cortez Elks heard about the plight of homeless veterans in Colorado.
“It was very motivating to find out how many homeless veterans there are in Colorado,” said Elks Trustee Chairman Graham Nielson. “We felt we had to do something, and when we discovered there are 21 homeless veterans in Montezuma County, our minds were made up.”
The local Elks lodge requested an Elks National Foundation grant of $2,000 to help veterans.
With help from Laurie Knutson, of the Bridge Emergency Shelter, the Cortez Elks developed a plan to devote $2,000 to help homeless veterans pursue productive lives.
The local lodge put the money toward helping veterans move into a home by assisting them with utilities deposits; providing transportation to and from job interviews and doctor and dentist appointments; a pair of shoes for a job interview; clothes; or even just a haircut.
The Cortez Elks also plan to help the Bridge by serving meals, providing transportation drivers, mentoring and other needed services.
The Elks presented the $2,000 to the Bridge on Friday April 18. Jenn Lopez, who works for the Colorado governor’s office, read a proclamation from the Gov. John W. Hickenlooper proclaiming April 18 Community Collaboration Day.