By Sam Curtiss
Serving the public is in John Emswiler’s DNA. A retired army veteran, he’s now the police chief in Denison, Iowa. For purposes of this story, he’s just John, one of the driving forces behind “Moving Veterans Forward.”
It’s a non-profit group based out of Papillion, Nebraska, that works closely with the Omaha Veterans Affairs office and homeless veterans between Nebraska and Iowa. Emswiler says it’s his way of giving back once he left the military. “We don’t ask names and we don’t know these people most of the time,” said John Emswiler.
What Emswiler does know is that when the Omaha VA finds these homeless vets a place to live some need furniture. Volunteers help collect household items and furnishings to give out to these veterans when they’re being placed in homes. “You name it, we take it,” said Emswiler. “As long as it’s not a refrigerator or stove.” He added that dressers are the hardest items to collect since he says they tend to have a high price tag and families will pass them down rather than donating them.
The group doesn’t spend money on items they collect. Emswiler said any donation the group receives goes 100-percent to transportation or storage costs. The group has seven storage units, where they house the items, five in Nebraska and two in Iowa.
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